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Ethical Theories Essay

838 words - 4 pages

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Ethical Theories

What are ethics? Ethics are a set of principles and practices that govern human conduct. To me, ethics are values that guide us in everyday choices and actions. They assist us in determining the course of our lives. There are many people in our society who do things that are ethically right to them based on their culture. There are others who do ethical things as an individual. Who is right or wrong? There are many theorists who believe that ethics is based on reason and not emotions or ...view middle of the document...

133). The last of the four ethical theories we examined is profit maximization. It is an ethical theory that “requires a decision-maker to maximize a business’s long-run profits within the limits of the law“ (mallor, et al p. 134).
These four theories all emphasize rules and consequences when making decisions, with the objective being achieving the greatest good possible. I found another theory that focuses on the same goal but emphasizes character instead of rules and consequences. It is the Virtue Theory and it was developed by Aristotle.

Aristotle argued that whenever we do something we do it to gain an end result. The ultimate of all ends is the chief good or the final good. This final good is called eudaimonia or happiness. This supreme happiness that Aristotle talks about is one for the community not just an individual. Aristotle saw people as not only rational beings but also as social beings who live in groups. He saw the well being of the group as more important than that of a single member (unknown 2010).

Aristotle believed a virtuous person is one who develops different virtues or character qualities that people generally admire. Aristotle distinguished between moral virtues such as courage and intellectual virtues such as knowledge. Aristotle also believed that moral virtues are connected to the desiderative and irrational part of the soul they can be cultivated through habit. These are connected to the rational half of the soul, which is cultivated through instruction (unknown 2010).

Aristotle believed that all...

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