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Similarities and Differences of Virtue Theory Essay

\When looking into the similarities and differences of theory and ethics, they become intertwined used in our everyday life. In this paper, the discussion of similarities and differences of virtue theory alongside utilitarianism and deontology will describe how each theory addresses ethics and morality. Moreover, a quick look into personal experience will provide an explanation of the relationship between virtue, values, and moral concepts as they relate in theory.

Similarities and Differences of Virtue Theory, Utilitarianism, and Deontological Ethic

Ethics dispense the relation of behaviors that human’s display to one another, in conduct of right and wrong. The use of ethics is in our everyday life; decided in our choice for course and action. “The reasoned study of what is morally right and wrong, good and bad.” (Manias, 2013) In an examination of similarities and variances between the three, we would need to begin with defining them.

Three Virtues

Virtue Theory carries part in the approach of normative ethics in placing less focus on the rules people should follow, but emphasize development of good character within people, not the action. This in short is training those to change their bad habits for good.

Utilitarianism based on utility and conduct that promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This theory promotes the action of what is morally correct taking aim to the maximization of happiness providing ones pleasure while reducing suffering. “Utilitarianism, according to the definition, is an ethical, and not a psychological doctrine: a theory not of what is, but of what ought to be.” (Sidgwick, 2000).

Deontological is the normative position judging on action based on following rules. Deontological stems from the word Deon in translation means duty. This reminded me of military personnel placed in duty to follow rules. “Deontology is the view that because there are moral constraints on promoting overall best consequences, sometimes the right action is not the one whose consequences are best.” (Richardson, 2006)

Comparison Virtues

Although, all three ethics of Virtue, Utilitarianism and deontological deal with results and that which works best or consequence towards the action. Virtue focuses on the character of a person while the others remain focused on the action’s status, rule, or nature.


In conclusion, these are normative ethics examining the standard for right and wrong in what we do. In using, these ethics in an example of life would be doing our taxes; there is cheating and not cheating. Virtue ethics would show that my action develops my character, as where in Utilitarianism how could my actions create the best for the greatest amount of people. The Deontological view would dictate that the action I would take based on my duty as a citizen to follow the laws of the land.

Kolb, R. W. (Ed.). (2008). Encyclopedia of business ethics and society. (Vols. 1-5). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/10.4135/9781412956260 Manias, N. & (2013). Ethics Applied. (7 Ed.). Pearson Learning Solutions Richardson, H. S. (2006). Deontological Ethics. In D. M. Borchert (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 712-715). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3446800488&v=2.1&u=uphoenix&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=3d5cac663d256c97deb89e9ad0860eca Sidgwick, H.(2000-12-21). Utilitarianism. In Essays on Ethics and Method. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 Sep. 2014, from http://www.oxfordscholarship.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/view/10.1093/0198250231.001.0001/acprof-9780198250234-chapter-1.

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