June 10, 2013
Ethics is the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct. Ethics are a system of moral behavior that help determine the choices of right and wrong that people make ("Ethics", n.d.). There are three theories that help to address moral issues: (1) virtue ethics, (2) utilitarianism, and (3) deontological ethics. There are similarities and differences that help establish a set of moral standards teaching people how to live and act.
Each theory includes judging at different points in one’s life, whether it is in the moment, what happens after, or over a lifetime. The ethics and morality behind these theories all deal with what is right, or what is best for the present, then separate paths as the theories work toward the future. Virtue ethics suggests that in life one must strive for excellence in all aspects of life (Boylan, 2009). In virtue ethics people strive to do the best and to be admired by others. Utilitarianism believes in teamwork and in striving to do the best that can be done for the entire team. Boylan (2009) shortens this into a slogan, “The greatest good for the greatest number” (p. 153). Finally, deontological theory bases a person’s choice based on what he or she thinks is right not through any sort of calculation but based on what is best for the well-being of that person (Boylan, 2009). An example of this theory involves an employee who witnesses another employee stealing a significant amount of money from the company they both work for. The two employees were very good friends and the person who witnessed the theft knew that her friend’s husband had recently left her and her children and had taken all the money from their bank account. She also knew that her friend was not a thief and was only doing this because she did not know what else to do. She knew that what her friend did was morally and ethically wrong, but...