Comparing Three Ethical Paradigms Essay

977 words - 4 pages

Sinking to the bottom for a solution: Ethical Paradigms
Sometimes in life there are instances in which and individual must make a decision that will question their moral fiber. These instances could vary from whether or not to help others in need, decide whether an action is right or wrong or even when deciding who should live and who must die. How does one logically reason to an ethnical conclusion to these situations?
A coast guard helicopter is responding to two mayday calls by two different ships that are sinking in the Pacific Ocean within a mile of each other. One ship carries a middle aged man, his wife and their two children under the age of ten. The other ship contains five middle aged men. The coast guard helicopter has the capacity to hold five survivors and the helicopter is equally likely to save either ship because it is an equal distance from each incident, but it only has enough fuel to make one trip. Which ship should the coast guard rescue?
By looking further into this dilemma using various ethical standpoints allows for a broad understanding of principles and complexity in a specific situation with these paradigms. The focuses are three prominent ethical paradigms such as: teleological utilitarianism, deontological duty theories and virtue based ethics. Each of these three paradigms will be applied to the aforementioned dilemma, each will be evaluated and the best option will be revealed.
"Ethical utilitarianism can most generally be described as the principle that states that the rightness or wrongness of action is determined by the goodness and badness of their consequences." (Utilitarianism EOP 9: 603.) Following this guide line the morally right decision to make is to rescue the group with five people instead of four in order to save many lives as possible also the coast guard would gain satisfaction because the decision that was chosen is valued by society and intrinsically good. The consequences of this action would result in a less death rate by selecting a standard goal, human survival and a small number of casualties. The positive outlook of this is satisfying everyone by choosing the most beneficial consequences. Also the decision to choose one group from the other is out weighed by quantity of survivors. However, the pessimistic surface is the fact that not everyone is entirely benefited by this decision such as the women and two children.
After examining a paradigm that is consequently based, now the opposite paradigm which is deontology will be reviewed. The duty theories verify an action is morally right if it is in accordance with some list of duties and obligations (\Explaining Deontological systems) The rescuer's obligations is to save the group of lives that are in danger yet save the lives that is most prominent to...

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