There are three major categories of ethical systems that students typically learn about in philosophy classes: I will describe all of them briefly, then describe each one of them in more detail, pointing out their defining features and major variants.
Thus, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome or result, and the consequences of an action or rule generally outweigh all other considerations i. It is distinct from the other main types of ethical system: Deontology which derives the rightness or wrongness of an act from the character of the act itself rather than the outcomes of the actionand Virtue Ethics which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on either the nature or consequences of the action itself.
Consequentialist theories must consider questions like "What sort of consequences count as good consequences?
The term "consequentialism" was coined by Elizabeth Anscombe - in her essay "Modern Moral Philosophy", as a pejorative description of what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories she was a Virtue Ethicist.
It then came to be adopted by both sides of the argument. Types of Consequentialism Back to Top Some consequentialist theories include: Utilitarianismwhich holds that an action is right if it leads to the most happiness for the greatest number of people "happiness" here is defined as the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain.
Hedonismwhich is the philosophy that pleasure is the most important pursuit of mankind, and that individuals should strive to maximize their own total pleasure net of any pain or suffering. Epicureanism is a more moderate approach which still seeks to maximize happiness, but which defines happiness more as a state of tranquillity than pleasure.
Egoismwhich holds that an action is right if it maximizes good for the self. Thus, Egoism may license actions which are good for an individual even if detrimental to the general welfare.
Asceticismin some ways, the opposite of Egoism in that it describes a life characterized by abstinence from egoistic pleasures especially to achieve a spiritual goal.
Thus, individuals have a moral obligation to help, serve or benefit others, if necessary at the sacrifice of self-interest. Rule Consequentialism, which is a theory sometimes seen as an attempt to reconcile Consequentialism and Deontologythat moral behavior involves following certain rules, but that those rules should be chosen based on the consequences that the selection of those rules have.
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Some theorists hold that a certain set of minimal rules are necessary to ensure appropriate actions, while some hold that the rules are not absolute and may be violated if strict adherence to the rule would lead to much more undesirable consequences.
Negative Consequentialism, which focuses on minimizing bad consequences rather than promoting good consequences. This may actually require active intervention to prevent harm from being doneor may only require passive avoidance of bad outcomes.
Criticisms of Consequentialism Back to Top Some Virtue Ethicists hold that Consequentialist theories totally disregard the development and importance of moral character.
Phillipa Foot -for example, argues that consequences in themselves have no ethical content, unless it has been provided by a virtue, such as benevolence, etc.
Others have argued that Consequentialism is unable to explain adequately why a morally wrong action is morally wrong, and attempts to do so lead to absurdity, such as the example of an "obliging stranger" who agrees to be baked in an oven.
Elizabeth Anscombe - has objected to Consequentialism on the grounds that it does not provide guidance in what one ought to do, since the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined based solely on the consequences it produces.
Bernard Williams - has argued that Consequentialism is alienating because it requires moral agents to put too much distance between themselves and their own projects and commitments, and to take a strictly impersonal view of all actions. Others argue that Consequentialism makes no distinction between consequences that are foreseen and those that are intended e.
Still others have argued that Consequentialism fails to appropriately take into account the people affected by a particular action e.Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy.
Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory. A teleological approach to ethics is based on the concept of seeking a “telos” in ethical decision-making.
Telos is a Greek word meaning “end” or “goal”; thus, teleological ethics is concerned with how choices will affect a particular desired moral outcome. A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions; A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions.
Ethics Theories- Utilitarianism Vs. Deontological Ethics. There are two major ethics theories that attempt to specify and justify moral rules and principles: utilitarianism and deontological ethics. Utilitarianism (also called consequentialism) is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham () and John Stuart Mill (). Contents leslutinsduphoenix.comty and Ethics leslutinsduphoenix.com – Four Branches leslutinsduphoenix.coml Concepts leslutinsduphoenix.coml Theories Consequentialism Deontology. Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology, in which rules and moral duty are central, derives the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct.
Below is a sample of some of the most important and useful of these ethical approaches. i.) Consequentialist Theories: One variation of the utilitarian approach is known as ethical egoism, or the ethics of self- . Consequentialism, as its name suggests, is the view that normative properties depend only on consequences.
This general approach can be applied at different levels to different normative properties of different kinds of things, but the most prominent example is consequentialism about the moral rightness of acts, which holds that whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences.
Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology, in which rules and moral duty are central, derives the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. Ethical Theories Summarized & Explained: Consequentialism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics, and Objectivist Ethical Egoism By far the most common historical variant of consequentialism is Classic Utilitarianism.
Classic Utilitarianism was advocated by such philosophers as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. We saw that consequentialism.