Intro to Ethics


Question Asked:

“In order to have a thorough and complex understanding of the most “practical” of philosophies–ethics–it’s important we be able to use the language and vocabulary provided in this reading.  To that end, let’s keep this RR simple:  write your own summary of each of the theories presented, in your own words and with your own examples, illustrations, or commentary.”


Religion Based:

Ethics based off of religion seems to make the most sense and seems to be the most common form that people follow. It is the belief of what is right or wrong based on what God believes. God is the most powerful person in the world, so it makes sense for Him to decide. The only thing wrong with this is that most religions do that agree on what is right and what is wrong. For example, some religions believe that abortion is okay and that it is the choice of the mother, but other religions believe that abortion is not okay because the mother is basically committing murder. There are so many diverse groups of religious people and so many different religions and beliefs that it becomes difficult to distinguish what God wants everyone to follow and what God believes in. This would bring the religions together; it would break them apart because of their different views on ethics. There are not many religions that believe in the same things; therefore, there are not many ethical beliefs that religious people agree on.

Consequence Based (Utilitarianism):

Consequence based is the idea of helping the majority, which means that a decision is morally right if it is helpful to the well-being and happiness of the majority. A general and obvious example of this would be making the decision to kill one life in order to save a thousand lives or sacrificing one life in order to save the majority. If the decision has good intentions for the majority it is okay even if it is morally wrong. As long as the decision is helpful towards the majority, only then is it okay.

Duty Based:

This belief is the opposite of Utilitarianism because it is the idea that a decision must have good intentions in order to be considered morally right. An example of this is I do my own homework every night because I was to make good grades and I want to be able to practice what I am learning. I could just look up the answers or ask my peers for their answers, but that would be morally wrong, so I chose to do my own homework. By doing my own homework I have good intentions, so therefore it is considered morally right. An issue with this belief is that it is hard to determine whether someone had good intentions or not because some people may think the intentions were good, but others may not. Duty is something that a person is expected to do. People are expected to do the right thing.  Therefore, duty based is the belief that an action is acceptable if the intentions are good.

Virtue Ethics:

The idea was kind of confusing to me. What I got from it is that certain traits are required for certain situations. People who possess these traits may act a certain way in these situations. Virtue based relies on the decisions of others in order to figure out what is moral. For example, if you decide to donate a kidney to a random stranger that desperately needs it, but then another person a couple of months later need a kidney and they call you to see if you will donate another kidney. What do you do? There are many virtues (honesty, compassion, generosity, etc.), and if people apply these virtues in certain situations, then virtue-based ethics would cause people to make decisions that are good and morally right.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s