University of Phoenix
Ethics and Social Responsibility
March 04, 2013
People have vastly different opinions when discussing what constitutes proper ethics. People are not born with a gene that contains proper or improper ethics. Throughout a person’s lifetime, we as people develop our own morals and values. The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader of the concepts of virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological ethics.
Virtue theory is different from the other two types of theories. This theory examines the characteristics of an individual and not just his or her actions. Virtue theory emphasizes the virtues, or moral character an individual exhibits (Summer 2012). It is obvious that someone in need of help should receive it. Someone who believes in the virtue theory would consider helping this person an act of charity. Someone who follows the theory of utilitarianism would say he or she is giving this person pleasure. Under deontological ethics, by helping this person they would be acting in accordance with a moral rule such as “Do for others as you would have them do for you” (Summer 2012).
Utilitarianism can be used to determine if an action is right or wrong. For example, when President Truman ordered the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, he made an utilitarianism decision. To save the lives of thousands of Americans and end the war, he ordered the annihilation of hundreds of thousands of non-combative Japanese citizens. This action gave him both pleasure, (ending the war) and pain (the loss of innocent life).
Deontological ethics determine if a person’s actions are right or wrong according to moral laws. Deontologists believe that a moral person must follow a set of rules that forbid or require him or her to perform certain actions. These rules specify actions that he or she must know to be right or wrong in relation to the rule in question (Deontological ethics,...