February 14th, 2013
Martin Mc Duffie
Ethics is something that everyone deals with every day in life. It is about doing the right thing. Whether it is returning a lost wallet or not eating the piece of cake in the refrigerator that does not belong to you. There are many different ideas of ethics. However, the three main ones are virtue theory, deontology, and utilitarianism. These theories are all similar in the fact that they require doing good things. Although they require good deeds, they have different ideas of how that is to be accomplished.
Most virtue ethics theories take their inspiration from Aristotle who declared that a virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits. (Athanassoulis, 2010) This theory requires that a person act with good character throughout their life. It also requires that a person continue to act this way throughout their life, because that is who they are, and not to get something in return. On the other hand, virtue ethics do not come with a set of rules to establish how someone should behave. This makes it difficult to guide someone to act appropriately.
Deontology theories suggest that it is everyone’s moral obligation to act in an ethically approved manner. In this theory it is always wrong to commit murder or lie because there are certain things in this theory that are always wrong. This holds true even if they would prevent more harm from occurring. Nonetheless, this same rule makes it difficult to always act ethically. It would require telling a serial killer that the police had a trap set to catch the individual, or a rapist where their victim was hiding.
Utilitarian theories look to benefit humankind as a whole. This theory is mainly focused on happiness and pleasure. It seeks to find the lesser evil of the available options. With this being said, it looks to find the option that would bring the most pleasure to everyone, not just the...