In life one must deal with moral and ethical dilemmas. “Ethics is defined as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral obligation” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2013). It studies human moral behavior and how one should act. Ethics helps to explain how a person should feel about a particular situation. There are several groups of studies of ethics that defend and recommend concepts of right and wrong. The focus of this paper will be to describe three of the groups of within ethics, which are virtue theory, utilitarianism, and, deontological ethics. Afterward, it will show how virtue theory played a major part in a personal ethical dilemma.
"Virtue ethics is a classification within Normative Ethics that attempts to discover and classify what might be deemed of moral character, and to apply the moral character as a base for one's choices and actions” (Gowdy, 2009, Virtue Ethics, para. 1). The general perspective of virtue ethics is that one should choose their own personal excellence and contentment. If the person’s character is good, one should not be judged mainly by rules and customs. Virtue theory looks at someone’s habits of excellence for long term and forgives for minor mistakes.
The Utilitarianism theory means “The greatest good for the greatest number” (Boylan, 2009, p. 153). “Utilitarianism is an ethical principle according to which an action is right if it tends to maximize happiness, not only the agent also of everyone affected” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2013). They focus on the acts of a person rather than ones motives. The moral action in this theory must be the greatest aggregate utility or the average utility. Bentham and Mills supported the theory of utilitarianism and created the pleasure principle. They believed that pleasure principle is a clearly identifiable end to what humans strive.
“Deontological is a moral theory that emphasizes one’s duty to do a particular action...
References: Boylan, M. (2009). Basic Ethics (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Ethics. (2013). In Merriam-Websters Online Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-
Gowdy, L. N. (2009). Ethic Morals. Retrieved from
Utilitarianism. (2013). In Merriam-Websters Online Dictionary. Retrieved from
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