The ethical system is built from many theories. Utilitarianism teaches to “do” the right things in life. Deontology follows dictations and commandments from the bible. The virtue theory contains the development of personal characteristics. It is interesting to know how a person develops morals and values and why everyone is different. Utilitarianism in ethics is the theory that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its usefulness in bringing about the most happiness of all those affected by it.
The word utilitarianism comes from the Greek word telos, which means “end”. Under this direction, acting ethically means making decisions and taking actions that benefit the people by maximizing “good” and minimizing “bad” (danielsfund. org). Englishmen Jerry Bentham and John Stuart Mill were too of the most influential developers of the utilitarian view point. Utilitarianism focuses on the pursuit of happiness. Another theory is the deontology moral theory.
While utilitarianism revolves around the concept of “the end justifies the means”, and deontology works on a concept that “the ends does not justify the means”. Deontology is another moral theory that is dependent on the Scriptures, which may refer to rules, moral laws, and intuition. It is based on the Greek word “deon” and “logos” meaning, “the study of duty”. In other words deontology is based on the idea that we have a duty to do certain things and to not do certain things.
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For example, if a person refuses to shoot someone because they feel they have a duty to follow the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. This sentence becomes a rule that the person lives by. Deontologist have strong feelings about the words “right” and “good”. Rights have to do with actions. Good has to do with outcomes. They feel that “right” is the only consideration. Deontologist are people who freely choose to accept certain constraints and who decide what is right by looking at the nature of the act itself.
Some establish rules, such as keep your promises, do not kill, etc. and some follow God’s commandments. They do not look at the consequences as a rule and sometimes find themselves in difficult situations. Deontologists face more problems then conflicting duties. They are sometimes accused of being cold hearted moral machines that ignore the world around them. There are many disputes with this moral theory because people question if they are being ethical by doing what God says because they want to go to heaven.
There is a difference between being obedient and being ethical. Another fascinating theory is the virtue theory. The virtue theory is different from utilitarianism and deontology. Many philosophers believe that morality consists of following precisely defined rules of conduct. Virtue theorists place less emphasis on learning rules, instead stress the importance of developing good habits of character. The virtue theory emphasizes moral education since virtuous character traits are developed in one’s youth. Adults are responsible for instilling virtues in the young.
There are certain traits which are seen to be virtuous. For example, a few are wisdom, courage, justice and temperance. Virtue ethics can be seen as an ethics of personal development. People can develop virtues over time, and so in theory, grow into a better person. The virtue theory describes the position of my morality on a personal level. My parents taught me right from wrong and how to be a good person. They were my role models and I am the person that I am today because of them. They taught me that stealing is worng, and to respect others.
These things are in the bible an my family believes in God but for me that was not the first that I react to when I make a decision. My decision making is guided by characteristics and the virtues that are installed in me. When I was younger I made many terrible decisions but now that I am older and wiser I make better decisions. For example, one day I was leaving Wal-Mart and I noticed that my daughter which is two years old had a toy in her stroller that was not paid for. I immediately went back inside to pay for the item.
Because I have great parents that was raised with the good morals and values I will honor them by installing those traits into my children so they will become good people and grow up to be successful in life. Deontology moral theory works for individuals who are obedient and utilitarianism is great for someone who believes in taking action for the good of all. The virtue theory will work for someone who has strong and positive role models in their life. All three of these theories are great ways to incorporate good values and morals. Finding the one the best fits a person’s lifestyle is a challenge.
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