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Ethics Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Relativistic Theory of Ethics

One relativistic theory of ethics is situationism. Situationism (also known as situation ethics) was devised by Joseph Fletcher, who was strongly against absolutist theories for instance; legalism and also disliked how religions were taught implying there were some rules that could never be broken, as he thought these rules are too demanding and restrictive. He then created this theory of situation ethics which is seen as the ‘mid way’ because it lies between antinomianism and legalism. Antinomianism is very anti law whilst legalism emphasises the important of law. However, situationism lies between the two as Fletcher was very enthused by making a decision on individual situations. Situation ethics maintains that it’s the consequences of actions which determine whether an action…

‘Utilitarianism Is Unsatisfactory as a Theory of Ethics

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory coined by an English philosopher who lived during the late 1700’s name Jeremy Bentham. Bentham believed in the principle that human beings should be motivated by pain and pleasure; he said “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure” this meant that every human being’s goal in life should be to pursue pleasure and avoid pain and that these should be defining factors of what is moral. Utilitarianism is strongly based on this principle which is more commonly known as the principle of utility. The principle of utility is that an action is moral if it produces the greatest possible pleasure for the greatest possible number in any given…

John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism

John Stuart Mill published Utilitarianism in 1861 in installments in Fraser’s Magezine it was later brought out in book form in 1863. The book offers a candidate for a first principle of morality, a principle that provides us with a criterion distinquishing right and wrong. The unilitarian candidate is the principle of utility, which holds that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happpiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.” One version of cecular utilitarianism was represented by William Godwin the husband of Mary Wollstonecraft and father of Mary Shelley, who achieved great notoriety with…

Case Study: Rule Utilitarianism or Act Utilitarianism?

This paper examines the procedure that were followed that it is a common sight to see on the street, children and sometimes old, physically handicapped, beggars and sickly people begging for food and some money. It critically examines these procedures in the moral dilemma with reference of applying the concepts: rule and act utilitarianism. Should we give these beggars money or not? In deciding whether we give or not, the answer for that is we should give. Why? Act utilitarianism basically states that an action is moral if it produces the greatest happiness for the most people. This reason alone the act of giving them would be a good idea, because it would benefit the most amount of people. At…

Utilitarianism Essay

John Stuart Mill, a philosopher and political economist, is known today as one of the most influential sponsors for Utilitarianism. His moral theory tends to go along with a “Utilitarian rubric” (Fitzpatrick, 2006) and thus holds that the theory is based on how to define right and wrong in terms of happiness. For Mill, “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (J. S Mill, 1861, pg. 9). If happiness, for Mill at least, is pleasure, then it is also the absence of pain. Although this can be seen as a hedonistic approach, Mill supports the idea of different levels for pleasure. In his essay Utilitarianism, Mill…

Ethics and Utilitarianism

What is Utilitarianism? Utilitarianism is an ethical framework for effective moral action. It’s a philosophical concept that holds an action to be held right if it tends to promote happiness for the greatest number of people. The essence of utilitarianism is in its concept of pleasure and pain. It defines the morally right actions as those actions that maximize pleasure or happiness and minimize pain or evil. Utilitarianism is all about making the right choices that will consequently promote the greatest amount of happiness. It can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, but the name most frequently associated with utilitarianism is that of Jeremy Bentham. According to utilitarianism, we should evaluate an action by…

Utilitarianism and Happiness

If everyone acted in an effort to promote the greatest good for the greater number of people our universe would exist with a utilitarian state of mind. Although, when one looks at this statement on the surface without further analyzing it, most would assume that existing in a universe where everyone seeks the happiness for the greatest amount of people that it would be greater one to live in. Although, surface wise we can make this assumption, everyone’s definition of “happiness” varies, for some happiness is defined by monetary objects and for others happiness is not determined through any tangible element. Utilitarianism was defined by John Stuart Mill who derived the theory based on the hedonistic version presented by his…

Rule Utilitarianism

Mill’s Utilitarianism brings an extended concept of Bentham’s philosophy and a response to Kant’s deontological philosophy. The basic concept of utilitarianism is to act in such a way as to create the most pleasure or the least pain. This is the guideline because, as Mill states, we desire happiness; happiness is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. However, is utilitarianism viable? There are many arguments for it, but just as many against. First, utilitarianism allows for the good of all. Mills wrote, “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. ” Because morality is based on the greatest pleasure the more people who benefit from an act, the…

Arguments on Utilitarianism

Which is more valuable: a game of push-pin or the study of Latin? Which has greater worth: the life of a single young girl or the lives of an entire community? These are the sorts of questions raised when dealing with the matter of utilitarianism. According to Jeremy Bentham, the father of the theory, the ultimate moral goal of human beings should be to increase pleasure and to decrease pain. To maximize the amount of time spent in content, and minimize the times of depression. And he has a point. Simply stated like that, everyone can agree that that is definitely something they want to achieve. But when his theory is applied to real-life conditions, the varying answers and resulting…

Rule Utilitarianism

?Utilitarianism was developed in the 18th century by Hutchenson, who used the phrase “the greatest good for the greatest number” to describe his theory. His idea of Utilitarianism, however, seeks to find a rational means of assessing how best to put this promotion of happiness into practice, and is split into two types; Act Utilitarianism is the earliest form, in which what is deemed right is based on the assessment of results of a particular action, and Rule Utilitarianism, which allows to be taken into account the general benefit to society that occurs when people follow general rules. Bentham and Mill each argued respectively for these types of Utilitarianism, and thus their beliefs differ. Bentham was born in London at…

John Stuart Mill

The Indian Tax Structure is quite elaborate, with clear distinction in authority between Central, State and local governments. The taxes levied by the Central government are on income (other than tax on agriculture income which would be levied by the state government), customs duties, central excise and service tax. The State government levies Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax in states where VAT is not applied, stamp duty, state excise, land revenue and tax on professions. Local bodies levy tax on property, octroi and for utilities like water supply, drainage etc. In the last 10 to 15 years, tax system in India has been subjected to significant reforms. The tax rates have been revised and tax laws have been modified….

Code of Ethics

A) Create a business of open and honest communication- Everyone should feel comfortable to speak his or hers mind. No one should be afraid to ask questions or speak up when they think something is wrong. B) Health and Safety- Having a healthy and safe business will make everyone feel comfortable. We should always maintain a healthy environment. Treat the office as if it was you home. C) Gift, Gratuities, and Business Courtesies- We are not allowed to accept money or any gifts over $50.00. We are here to help and provide for our clients. Every clients should be treated the same. Certain gifts we can accept like calendars, pens, mugs, and key chains. D) Meals, Refreshments, and Entertainments- We…

Utilitarianism – Morality

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory holding that moral actions are based on the maximization of overall happiness, defined as the Utility Principle. Mill and Bentham’s utilitarianism makes a plausible and convincing argument, though not everyone agrees with it. Bernard Williams writes Utilitarianism: For and Against the theory. In agreement with Williams, I have formed my own thought experiment to refute utilitarianism and will be taking an analytic approach to the utility principle. By these two, I will show that utilitarianism is an incoherent doctrine failing to consider the value of an individual and guilty of inappropriately attributing calculation to moral actions. Before I began, I would like define two popular forms of utilitarianism: Act-utilitarianism and Rule-Utilitarianism. Rule-Utilitarianism is a view…

John Stuart Mill

In this essay I will discuss Utilitarianism by first explaining how Utilitarians are consequentialists who base their actions on the pleasure of pain of their consequences. Secondly, Jeremy Bentham will be discussed as the propagator of the Principle of Utility which determines human self-interest and voluntary action to achieve the greatest good or greatest pleasure. Thirdly, I will discuss John Stuart Mills and his more complex version of Utilitarianism. To clarify the Utilitarian theory I will illustrate and assess different examples of complex situations, simultaneously doing a critique on the theory, in order to conclude the relevance of Utilitarianism in society. (101) Consequentialism looks at the desirability and undesirability of consequences; meaning people base their actions on what is right…

Utilitarianism – Christianity

“Utilitarianism is not compatible with a religious approach to ethics” To what extent is this a fair statement? Ultimately utilitarianism is a way of improving the lives of most people, and religious ethics also aims to act out of compassion and love to improve the lives of others. For example, Christianity has certain rules that benefit those in society. We know that they work as many of those rules are tied in with the laws of the country. For instance, Murder and stealing are both illegal and you can be punished if you do either. Parts of Mill’s theory of rule utilitarianism can be applied to religious ethics. For example Mill compared the principle of utility to these Christian teachings,…

John Stuart Mill

“Actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” John Stuart Mill utilitarianism, 1863 Utilitarians founder Jeremy Bentham has a famous formulation that is know as the “greatest-happiness principle”. The definition of this is “the ethical principle that an action is right in so far as it promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number of those affected”. Central Beliefs: There are seven thoughts guiding them. These are 1.They want to think about the future 2.They want to leave the part of land they live on the same or even better than before 3. They want a better world where everyone is happy and think if themselves…

Utilitarianism – Morality

The use of utilitarianism when making moral decisions leads to an injustice society, evaluate this claim. The use of utilitarianism is a controversial subject for many people, some believe by using it, it can bring happiness to the majority of society, others say by using utilitarianism it can take away peoples own judgment making our society unjust. Strengths of Bentham’s theory begin with the fact that utilitarianism offers a relatively straightforward method for deciding the morally right course of action for any particular situation we may find ourselves in. Utilitarianism treats everyone the same, no one gets special treatment due to their emotional or social attachments, and Bentham wanted us to strive for happiness, his principle of utility states “the…

Utilitarianism as an ethical theory

Utilitarianism is the view that an act is right if it equals the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarians describe moral actions as actions that boost something good and lessen something that is bad. Virtue, knowledge, and goodwill are all good but they are only good if they give people a pleasurable existence. Pain is the only thing that is intrinsically bad. Utilitarians focus on the result of an act instead of the inherent nature of the act. An example would be an individual throwing their garbage into the ocean. Utilitarians would say throwing garbage into the ocean is not necessarily bad, but the effect it leaves will cause harm sooner or later and that is what…

Truth Telling, Privacy, and Confidentiality

The following factors account for the success of Shouldice hospital: •Unique and pioneering surgical technique for Hernia operation which reduced the suffering of the patients and led to rapid recovery as compared to the existing methods. The Shouldice technique enabled the patients to resume their normal routine and jobs in a much shorter period of time (one to four weeks) as compared to other hospitals (two to eight weeks). This technique resulted in 140,000 highly satisfied “Alumni”(past patients). •Doctors could conduct 600 operations in a year as compared to 25 to 50 operations per year in other hospitals, which was possible by the standardization of operating procedures. This standardization led to efficient utilization of the medical staff and other resources….

Fololio Mulagia

In May of 2011 a Samoan schoolteacher by the name of Folole Muliaga was sent home from a New Zealand hospital suffering from a terminal illness called cardiomyopathy. Because, doctors believed she did not have much longer to live she was sent home with two oxygen tanks to help aid her with her illness. McNaughton (2006) states that on May 29 a contractor for Vircom EMS was sent by Mercury Energy to the Muliaga’s home to disconnect the electricity supply. Mrs. Muliaga pleaded with the contractor to keep the electricity because of her health condition but he disagreed. A few short hours later Mrs. Muliaga would perish. Prior to the Muliaga’s electricity being disconnected, the family had an outstanding balance of…

Professional Ethics and Toxic Waste

1.Discuss why Rachel has an ethical responsibility to take some action about her suspicion of the illegal dumping of toxic wastes. Rachel has an ethical responsibility to take some action about her suspicion of the illegal dumping of toxic wastes because it is illegal to begin with and even though it might only be a suspicion, if it turns out to be true, under the eyes of the law if she knew about it and did nothing, she is just as guilty as the responsible parties. She might be working for a very prominent firm but if her suspicions turn out to be true, the minute those news go public the firm’s reputation will definitely suffer as will the firms…

Ethical Decision Making

Ethics One definition–Ethics is the code of moral principles and values that governs the behaviors of a person or group with respect to what is right or wrong. Ethical Decision Making The Gut Test–Most of the time you’ll know if something is right or wrong. If it feels fishy, it probably is. Common Ethical Principles Utilitarianism–An ethical choice is one that leads to the”greatest good for the greatest number of people. ” Decision takes into consideration of costs and benefits to “society,” not just for the decision maker or those close to him. Justice–An ethical choice is one that distributes benefits and burdens equitably. Under this principle, both processes and outcomes can be evaluated. Procedural Justice: fairness in the process…

Personal and Business Ethics

Individuals and organizations both have their own specific values and codes of conduct which guides their behavior. The individual values should be aligned with the organizational values which make up its culture or else it would result in work place conflict. Organizations need to change their culture at times for the purpose of increased success and profitability or it will not be able to standout and beat the competition. This requires understanding, awareness, communication of objectives, strong sense of commitment and most importantly effective leadership guidance. This paper discusses first the personal and business analysis based on their respective values, mission, vision and code of ethics. Then it goes into the depth of the business ethics by highlighting its social…

Personal Ethics

When faced with a decision which requires an ethical framework, my usual pattern of decision making follows a pattern of reflection and introspection. The introspective element is both cerebral, that is: based in a rational analysis of the issue or matter at hand, and also intuitive, of which is to some degree an assessment of the emotional components of the decision at hand. However, intuitive introspection, at least in my opinion, transcends the boundaries of rationality as we understand it, and it even transcends our understanding of emotional responses, so intuition, although critical to my own decision making process is a slightly difficult aspect to illuminate. I once read the following paradigm somewhere. The origin of the paradigm is lost…

Virtue Ethics Criticsm

The biggest criticism of Virtue Ethics is that it doesn’t give clear guidance on how to act in specific circumstances. It cannot tell us what the law should be about abortion, euthanasia, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis etc. It gives no clear answer to questions such as ‘Is the environment intrinsically valuable?’. The lack of moral rules or a method of addressing dilemmas is the main conceren here, but there is also uncertainty about how you decide on what the virtues are. Many critics say Virtue Ethics simply doesn’t do the job of an ethical theory. There are many responses to this. There are no absolute answers to these questions, MacIntyre takes this view that contemporary ethics has distanced itself from real…

Analyzing Ethical Behavior

In the course of this report, it will show the comparison of the ethical aspect of two well-known corporate giants, Enron and Bernie Madoff. The first subject Bernard Lawrence “Bernie” Madoff, Broker, Investment guru, Financier. Once herald as a financial king, he in his reign overnight turned white collar criminal, which led to a quick and easy demise. Second, Enron Corporation, known for energy and commodities, services, and well known for being a major player in the electricity and natural gas, and communication, pulp and paper company, crumbled to its knees into bankruptcy in the early 2000s. The question is, at the height of both these two companies, what went wrong. Where was the ethical breakdown? The who, what when…

Why Philosophy

This paper is about the six questions in Philosophy I gave my reasons and belief’s one why I feel a certain way on each of the questions and after reading I hope you have a better take on Why Philosophy 1. Metaphysics: what is real? Well a lot of people would say that real is anything that could be touched, seen, smelled, or tasted using one of the five senses. But as a Christian I have to disagree I believe that you have to have faith in the fact that something’s are real weather or not you can sense them with the five senses. Take heaven and hell I believe that these are very real tangible places although I never…

Code of Ethics Comparison

Differences and similarities were described in the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors. The two codes are comparable in many ways. The American Association of Christian Counselors focus on the Christian aspect and the American Counseling Association is based on world views. It is important to understand that counselors should not impose their personal values on clients, however religion mainly consist of beliefs that individuals adapt and practice. All counselors should remain subtle when providing services clients and allow them to make the decision if they choose to adopt a certain value or religious belief to help them cope with life. The general similarities of the ethic codes American Counseling Association…

“The Ring of Gyges”- Plato

Explain one point Glaucon is making about human nature and why we act justly with the Shepard and ring story. Glaucon argues that all persons are egoistic and selfish. He states that the only reason people do not always do the unjust thing is because of the fear of being caught and harmed. If we look at what people really are, then we will see that they believe to do wrong is desirable and to suffer wrong is undesirable. Since we do not want to suffer wrong, we compromise with others and form a compact kind of like a social contract not to harm each other. These agreements are the origination of justice in society. So like in the story,…

Dialogue Between Plato and Nietzsche

Plato and Nietzsche are sitting in a park enjoying a light picnic lunch. All of a sudden a man dressed in black, wearing a balaclava run’s past and steals Nietzsche’s Turkey sandwich. Nietzsche:This is preposterous! That immoral man has just stolen my last turkey sandwich! This is a horrible position to be in! Plato:What do you mean Nietzsche? Are you saying that you are in a worse position than the thief that stole your sandwich? Nietzsche:Yes that is exactly what I am saying. He isn’t the one who is going to starve to death now is he? Plato:Oh Nietzsche don’t be silly, you’re looking at this in the wrong way. You see, it is you who is in the better…