Utilitarianism, Deontology and Virtue

Anthony B. FieldingUtilitarian, Deontological, and Virtue ethics The concept of utilitarianism is closely related to the philosophy of consequentialism. Basically this means that the moral and ethical value of a person’s action should be judged by the consequence of that action. Utilitarianism is believed to be the most important of the three ethical theories because it has helped shape our world’s politics, economics, and public policy. This ethical theory explains to us that we can determine the ethical significance by judging the consequence of that act.

So basically I understand utilitarianism as; what is good for the majority is just and that happiness is the ultimate goal. An example of my own would be; the utilitarian would say that if six people were trapped on an island, two adult males and four small children with enough food to last two days if they all ate, but if the men did not eat, there would be enough for the children to eat for a week, it is ok for two men to starve to death if it meant that four children would live long enough to be rescued.

Bound by our duties, walk the walk, and practice what you preach, the deontologist’s view of ethics. Contrary to utilitarianism, deontology says that there are some things that we should or should not do regardless of the consequence. Law enforcement officers wear a badge of honor ‘To serve and protect. ’ This motto is definitely one that describes deontology. Another popular slogan we hear is “Be all you can be. ” This duty is demonstrated by our U. S. Army. A bodyguard’s duty is to protect his employer to the extent of endangering his own life.

Virtue ethics questions how we should live our lives. A person is judged by his character and not by the actions he may uncommonly choose. Character building takes a lot of work. Character is introduced to us at a very young age by many sources, parents, grand-parents and teachers just to name a few. To me, virtue ethics can be confused as ‘do as I say and not as I do. ’ A person that practices virtue ethics may work for a company that sells automatic machine guns, but teach in his home that guns are bad.

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