ETH/316 Ethics and Social Responsibility
April 21, 2014
Ethics is recognized as a system of moral values, values that affect how people live their lives and make choices. Ethics is the concerned with the examination and study of human actions as it relates to the right and wrongness of these actions. There are several different theories associated with ethics, the purpose of this essay is to briefly describe, compare and discuss the similarities and differences between three ethical theories: virtue ethics, utilitarianism and deontology.
The basic tenant of Utilitarianism ethics is that the action one takes is morally right when it is beneficial for the greatest number of people. Another way to express this thought is, “The greatest good for the greatest number of people” (Boylan, 2009, p. 153). When taking these actions the character of the individual defined.
This theory emphasizes duty to an action or following rules, because the action itself is inherently right. In addition, the Deontology theory is not concerned with the results of the action; it is the motives behind the action that determine if they are right or wrong. In order to help understand the concept, often a subset of the theory is referenced; called Divine Command Theory. Divine Command Theory states that God’s commands are the source of all ethics and that God is a moral authority, so we should follow and obey his commands. Therefore, Gods commands are inherently right, so we must follow them.
The central theme of Virtue Ethics is that we should cultivate and strive for excellence in all that we do. The theory is not concerned with the results of the action. In other words, as long as you are achieving is excellence there is no difference between the achievement of good or bad. In addition, the theory takes into account the persona and character of a person over