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DEONTOLOGY
UTILITARIANISM
ETHICAL EGOISM
1. “deon”: duty + “logos”: study, theory,
account, principle
1. Utility principle: Through our
actions we should strive to maximize
pleasure/happiness and minimize
pain/suffering for the most people
(greatest happiness for the greatest
number of people)
1. All our actions/choices are originally
determined/motivated by self-interest
2. Non-consequentialism: Duties must
be followed ‘regardless of the
consequences of the action’
3. Good Will: Looks at the intentions or
motives behind the action rather than
the outcomes (good-in-itself)
4. A choice is right if it conforms the
moral norms that derive not from
religion but from human
reason/rational/reasoning capacity
(which distinguishes human beings from
other animals) > Think whether the
action is good or right before acting
5. Categorical Imperative: Act only
according to that maxim whereby you
can, at the same time, will that it should
become a universal law
6. Value-in-itself: Human life/reason
must be valued not as a tool but in and
for itself
2. Consequentialist theory focusing on
the ends/outcomes of an action rather
than the means or intentions behind the
action > ethical decisions must be based
on calculating the good in terms of the
consequences of the action
3. The purpose of ethics is to make
world a better place > The right action
is the one that produces the most
intrinsic good
4. Calculates the overall good and bad
consequences the action or decision
generates (looking at the number of
people affected and the gravity of the
pain suffered by the action)
5. Harm principle (Mill): I am free to
do and say whatever I like as long as it
does not harm other people in society
2. Being ethical is to put your own
good/interest/benefit/concern above
that of everyone else > If the action
produces the best outcome for you (the
agent/individual) then it is the
right/good/ethical action
3. Consequentialist theory: While
judging whether the action is/was good
or bad, ethical egoism looks at the
consequences enjoyed/suffered by the
individual doing the action
4. Encourages greed as well as
competition between
people/companies/ political
parties/institutions etc.
5. May lead to good or bad results (e.g.
the successes and failures of the
capitalist economies)
6. May lead to the increase in the quality
of service as well as corruption/lack of
social responsibility
VIRTUE ETHICS
ETHICS OF CARE
ALTRUISM
1. Ethics of Character: not based on
conduct/action/consequences/intentions
but on the character of the person
Emphasizes the importance of acquiring
a good character through selfcultivation and education
1. Emphasizes the importance of
genuine care for other
people/institutions in society
(especially for those who are most
vulnerable in society) – starting from
those who are closest to us (family >
relatives > friends > neighbors > local
community > society > region >
humanity)
1. Acting purely out of a concern for
other people > Motivation to help others
or do good
2. It is not based on duty or happiness
but on our social relation to others
4. Example: a mother sacrificing her life
to save her son’s life/ a soldier giving
his life for his country and people
2. Habituation: one can only acquire
virtues by doing the right/good action
over a long period of time (e.g. you
cannot call a new-born baby honest but
rather a person becomes honest by
practicing honesty throughout his/her
life)
3. A good character is acquired by
applying a standard of moral excellence
into your private and work life/career/
relations >> integrity of person
4. Practical wisdom: applying the
principles of moral excellence into real
life > this can only be learned through
real-life experiences
5. Golden Mean: balanced action is the
one that is based on the means between
extreme.
3. All individuals are interdependent
for achieving their interests > Human
beings are social animals who cannot
and should not prioritize self-interest >
our well-being is determined by the
well-being of those around us including
the well-being of our environment
animals, plants etc.
4. Those particularly vulnerable to our
choices deserve extra consideration, we
are to consider each and every person
who may be affected by our actions
2. Encourages self-sacrifice for
others/society/institution/state etc.
3. Discourages greed/egoism/
competition
5. Thinking of the consequences
suffered or enjoyed by other people in
society (opposite of ethical egoism)