The Three Classical Ethical Theories Essay

1731 words - 7 pages

Every day we are confronted with questions of right and wrong. These questions can appear to be very simple (Is it always wrong to lie?), as well as very complicated (Is it ever right to go to war?). Ethics is the study of those questions and suggests various ways we might solve them. Here we will look at three traditional theories that have a long history and that provide a great deal of guidance in struggling with moral problems; we will also see that each theory has its own difficulties. Ethics can offer a great deal of insight into the issues of right and wrong; however, we will also discover that ethics generally won’t provide a simple solution on which everyone can agree (Mosser, 2013).

Let’s explore Three Classical Ethical Theories – Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics!

Let’s Begin with Utilitarianism!
A natural way to see whether an act is the right thing to do (or the wrong thing to do) is to look at its results, or consequences. Utilitarianism argues that, given a set of choices, the act we should choose is that which produces the best results for the greatest number affected by that choice.

Definition of Utilitarianism

After helping their mother clean the attic, John and Mary are told they can each have a cookie. When they open the cookie jar, only one is left. What do you think would be the fairest solution for John and Mary?

Those who follow utilitarianism suggest that there is an obvious solution that is fair, and it may be one that appeals to common sense as well: John and Mary should share the cookie. Since each has an equal right to it, they should split it in half. They may not get what they want—each wants the entire cookie—but both are better off with half a cookie than with no cookie. Dividing the cookie produces the greatest good for the greatest number. This is the fundamental principle of utilitarianism: One should choose to do that which produces a better outcome for the largest number of people.

Challenges to Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism gives us what seems to be a clear and fairly easy principle to apply to ethical problems and so determine the right thing to do in specific cases. It also seems to be an idea that appeals to common sense and is often regarded, therefore, as one that most people use even when they don’t realize they are applying a specific ethical theory. As we go along, we will see in many cases that utilitarianism does do this, providing clear solutions to ethical challenges that are simple, easy to explain, and easy to justify; it seems to be an obvious, common-sense response to those challenges. Unfortunately, we will also see that it can produce—as it may do in the case of the explorer—results that conflict with our sense of right and wrong. We will also recognize that it isn’t always easy to determine what, exactly, is the “greatest good,” or how we can decide what the relevant group is when we consider the good for the “greatest number.” We may also discover conflicts between...

Find Another Essay On The Three Classical Ethical Theories

The Golden Rule in Kant and Mill’s Ethical Theories

1615 words - 6 pages Ethics refers to what people consider good or bad and right or wrong. It is a theory dealing with values that relate to human behaviour; with respect to their actions and purpose. The two most important philosophers that deal with ethics are Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. Kant’s ethical theory is Kantianism or deontological ethics. Mill’s ethical theory is utilitarianism. Both philosophers’ theories have many differences; Kant’s theory

Determining the Cause of Bullying by Using Three Main Criminological Theories

1105 words - 5 pages A number of studies that have been conducted concluded with the fact that school bullying has become a global concern regardless of cultural differences. In light of this fact, there have been few studies that have examined individual factors that affect bullying. The current study that will be discussed attempts to determine the cause of bullying by using three main criminological theories, which are general theory of crime, differential

integration and synthesis of three grounded theories and conceptual principles of the educational leadership field

3643 words - 15 pages Introduction The objective that I have for this paper is to present the integration and synthesis of at least three grounded theories and conceptual principles of the educational leadership field. Then, according with guidelines, I will compare and contrast those theories by using different authors’ perspectives, to critically analyze the body of knowledge achieved by those principles and explain how those theories in educational leadership add

The Three Main Theories of Deviance and Their Strengths and Weaknesses

2887 words - 12 pages The Three Main Theories of Deviance and Their Strengths and Weaknesses A functionalist analysis of deviance looks for the source of deviance in the nature of society rather than in the biological or psychological nature of the individual. Although functionalists agree that social control mechanisms such as the police and the courts are necessary to keep deviance in check, many argue that a certain amount of deviance

Early and Later Writings of Karl Marx. Compares the classical works of Karl Marx and looks at some of his most well known theories. Includes works cited

2110 words - 8 pages The Early and Later Writings of Karl MarxClassical Marxism has had an influence in a number of areas. One may first think of economics, but Karl Marx's theories have also affected ideas about history, society, ideology, culture, and politics, just to name a few. From his early writings in liberal newspapers to his later ones such as Capital, Marx remained true to his revolutionary ideas and Communist thinking. As most writers, his style may have

Explain briefly with examples on the three theories in motivation and how it applies to business organisation today

1274 words - 5 pages short explanation of three theories' that has been known for many managers today;The most famous one being the Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This states and talks about the human needs that are broken down in five needs format (look at Figure 1).Firstly the Basic Needs. This includes the following hunger, thirst, shelter, and many other bodily needs. To reflect to the above question one must examine how these apply in today's environment

Explain briefly with examples on the three theories in motivation and how it applies to business organisation today

1274 words - 5 pages short explanation of three theories' that has been known for many managers today;The most famous one being the Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This states and talks about the human needs that are broken down in five needs format (look at Figure 1).Firstly the Basic Needs. This includes the following hunger, thirst, shelter, and many other bodily needs. To reflect to the above question one must examine how these apply in today's environment

Aggression-Discuss the Three Psychological Approaches According to Freud, Skinner and Rogers(Psychodynamic, Behaviourist and Humanistic Theories)

1691 words - 7 pages involve attack" (The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology-Third Edition 2001)In this essay, I will explain and evaluate three psychological approaches of aggression from Sigmund Freud, Burrhus F Skinner and Carl R Rogers.Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) developed the psychoanalytical theory of the personality, whereby he divided it into layers; the unconscious, preconscious and the conscious. These represented different levels of awareness in our minds. He

Three Theories About The First Human Beings

1060 words - 5 pages , they were brainstorming ideas about what to do for the day. These aliens were teenagers of their kind and sometimes would get bored because of all the science stuff around their planet. "Let's make a time machine to see our parents when they were kids!" said Prometheus, who was the youngest of the three. "No, we've done that. Let's make a portal machine to cut down on the transportation time between our houses," suggested

Ethical Theories Lying within In the Wake by Per Petterson

798 words - 4 pages suicide and fails. Arvid is unsure how to handle this having already lost a lot, he is reluctant to go visit his brother in the hospital.At the end of the novel you see the two brothers come to the conclusion that they have both hit the end of their ropes. They toast and look forward to a place where they can only go up now that rock bottom has been met. Ethical relativism can be found within the relationship between Arvid and the neighbor he has

This is a review of Black Hawk Down against the theories of Clausewitz's Book "Three in On War"

1921 words - 8 pages canvassing the battle of Mogadishu with Book Three of Clausewitzs' On War, obvious failures at the strategic level are apparent. The following will serve the reader in understanding a few of the discrepancies that the author may have with the book, as well as lauding Mr. Bowden for his efforts on the detail and care that he provided in his work; done within the framework of Book Three of On War."Strategy is the employment of the battle to gain

Similar Essays

The Classical And Keynesian Theories Essay

840 words - 3 pages Economics studies the monetary policy of a government and other information using mathematical or statistical calculations (Differences). Classical and Keynesian are two completely different economic theories. Each theory takes its own approach on monetary policy, consumer behavior, and government spending. There are a few distinctions that separate these two theories. To begin, the Classical Economic Theory was made in the 1700's, which was

Comparison Of The Three Major Sociological Theories

1817 words - 7 pages SOCIOLOGY 303CLASSICAL THEORYComment on the three types of sociological theories, explain and argue, based onyour library or Internet research, which type of theory is the most appropriatetheory for sociology to adopt.The three general types of sociological theory are positivistic, interpretive andcritical theory. In determining which theory is the most appropriate for sociology toadopt, a basic understanding of each theory's strengths and

The Look At Three Integrated Theories

2708 words - 11 pages . Integrated theories are successful in explaining certain aspects of crime on what causes one to become deviant; however one theory alone cannot explain why an individual engages in crime. This paper will examine three integrated theories and look in-depth how these theories can explain different aspects on why criminal behavior occurs and the weakness of each theory. The three integrated theories that will be discussed in this paper are Cloward and

One Of The Three Greatest Tragedians Of Classical Athens

1499 words - 6 pages The Greek playwright, Euripides, is considered one of the three greatest tragedians of classical Athens; his individuality is tribute to the way he “pushes to the limits of what an audience can stand” . Such ideas are portrayed in one of his famous plays, Medea , a fascinating classic centered on the Greek goddess Medea. During his time, Euripides, a genius playwright, was unpopular since he defied the customary method of playwriting during the