Ethics Essay

Ethics and Social Responsibility/ETH316

What is ethics? (Boylan, 2009) stated, “ethics is the science concerning the “right and wrong” of human action”. Ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, meaning “the way things should be.” Ethics refers more to public life or the workplace. This paper will discuss the similarities and differences between virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological ethics; it will also cover how each theory addresses ethics and morality; as well as my personal experiences between virtues, values, and moral concepts as they relate to one of the theories.

Virtue theory (which is also known as virtue ethics) are character traits that make up a moral life, it is based upon good being a result of pursuit of excellence (Boylan, 2009). Virtue ethics can be used to determine the rightness or wrongness of an action by relating the choice to character traits.

Utilitarianism is the view that what we ought to do morally is producing the greatest possible utility for the greatest possible number of people (Boylan, 2009). Utilitarian’s contend that the greater good of people is more important than the individual. One must be selfless and follow the path that leads to the greater good of the group by overlooking one\'s own needs and desires.

Deontological ethics describes ones moral duty is based upon principles of reason and action (Boylan, 2009). One must act by the guidelines without thought to the consequences bestowed upon them or anyone else in order to maintain morality. An action is right regardless of the consequences of the action. With this theory it is either right or wrong no in between.

The relationship between virtues, values and moral concepts as related to utilitarianism ethics are discussed in this example. While living in a condo you have certain rules everyone must follow and when a problem comes up everyone have to meet about it. Well one day they was a problem with some work that the condo association wanted everyone to help pay for. The problem was that several people of the group didn’t want to do it and felt that it was unfair to make everyone pay for something that smaller group wasn’t benefitting from. But because the majority of the group was ok with it, the condo association billed everyone. I say this is the utilitarianism theory because even though a small part of them didn’t want to help the largest of the group did and the association felt that it was better overall to have the work done.

These theories of virtue ethics, utilitarianism and deontology ethics all have several things in common, they all have their own way of outlining what values are virtuous and in what way are they right and wrong. All three drive for maintaining the best standards of moral value in regards to their own moral values. They are different for every circumstance and they may not always agree.

Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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