Virtue, utilitarianism, and deontology theories address ethics and morality. These theories contain similarities and differences. Furthermore, many people can relate personal experiences to each of these three theories. Virtue ethics is based on a person’s character and is called agent-based (Boylan, 2009). This type of ethics pushes a person to do what she or he can for greatness. Ahearn (2004), “You can be all you can be, someone was paid a handsome fee to write that slogan. ” The United States Army motto shows that each member should strive for excellence.
This is a prime example of virtue ethics. Some people may believe it is better to delve deeper into a person’s character than to judge a book by its cover. Utilitarianism occurs when a person puts what is best for the group before what is best for him or her. For example, the majority of an elementary school may believe is it good that the school provides vegetables for children to eat. Susan Green, a student, eats her vegetables. Therefore, Susan is a good student and an example for others.
Boylan (2009), “Utilitarianism is a theory that suggests that an action is morally right when that action produces more total utility for the group than any other alternative. ” The deontology theory states that people should do what is right because they know it is right. For example, a person found a bag of money in the park. A person who follows the deontology theory would turn the money into the local police station immediately. A person would turn the money in because he or she may have thought it could belong to someone who needs it to pay his or her bills.
On the other hand, this person would not turn it in because they were afraid of spending the money and getting caught. Boylan (2009), “Deontology is a moral theory that emphasizes one’s duty to do a particular action just because the action, itself, is inherently right and not through any other sorts of calculations—such as the consequences of the action. ” Virtue ethics, utilitarianism, and deontology theories have ethical and moral similarities and differences. Virtue ethics requires an individual to have a character to be successful in a way that does not harm others.
A person must have a good character to practice utilitarianism because he or she must do what is best for the majority. Deontology requires a person to do what is best whether anyone knows or not. Therefore, following the deontology theory could result in doing what is best for the majority and would call for someone with an excellent disposition. On the other hand, the theories show differences. A person who works on self improvement, based on virtue ethics, is not doing it for the good of the community. Utilitarianism entails an individual who does what is right for the group.
What is right for the group may not be what is right over time. Deontology involves a person doing what is right, no matter what. This may not be the correct action that will be what is right for the group. Back to the previous bag of money found example. If a group of people found the money, everyone may not want to turn in the money. One person may decide to turn it the bag of money but this may not benefit the group. This may not benefit the individual, either. Utilitarianism relates to the personal experience of Ranesha Rain. Ranesha was a tri-sport athlete.
There were many times when she needed to step down for the good of the team. For example, Ranesha played center for her local high school basketball team. She typically played most of the game but felt as if she had sprained her ankle. The coach, Coach Seaman, wanted her to continue playing so the team could keep the lead. Ashley, Ranesha’s teammate, had not played most of the game even though her father had come to watch. Ranesha decided to tell Coach Seaman she was too hurt and tired to play. Therefore, Coach Seaman put Ashley in to play the last couple minutes of the game.
The team won and Ranesha believe she did what was best for the team. There are similarities and differences between the virtue, utilitarianism, and deontology theories. Virtues, values, and moral concepts all go hand- in-hand throughout these theories. These theories build character, help people do what is best for the majority, and do what is right. References Ahearn, F. M. (2004). Be All You Can Be and Other Great American Slogans. Retrieved from http://www. peace. ca/beallyoucanbe. htm Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.