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Individual Research Paper

1842 words - 8 pages


Accounting Ethics: Differences between Deontology and Utilitarianism
Yaa Mendez
Liberty University

Introduction with thesis
Deontology: definition, concepts
Utilitarianism: definition, concepts
Similarities between deontology and utilitarianism
Difference between deontology and utilitarianism

In 2013, the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street portrayed the dishonest dealings of people involved in securities exchange and trades of foreign and public companies. The actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, had an sensational thirst for wealth and learned of greed from his ...view middle of the document...

According to Sevenpillarsinstitute (2015), Immanuel Kant's formulation of deontological ethics states that each individual must act in a way that treats humanity as its own person and the next person as an end and never as a means (Sevenpillarsinstitute, 2015). Other deontologists such as, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke followed Kant by stating that “the basis of moral requirements was a standard of rationality”. Several objections to Kant's point of view claimed that “the moral status of one's actions determined the basis of the rightness or wrongness of the action”. In theory, these objections suggest that it is wrong to lie in any circumstance regardless of the consequences (Sevenpillarsinstitute, 2015). The third feature stated that moral principles are categorized universally, meaning it must be applicable for everyone who is in the same moral situation (Moreland, 2009).
Utilitarianism was developed and refined by Jeremy Bentham in 1748-1832 and John Stuart Mill in 1806-1873 (Moreland, 2009). Utilitarianists (or consequentialists), Sevenpillarinstitute (2015) believe that only the consequences or outcomes of actions matter morally (Sevenpillarinstitute, 2015). These acts are deemed to be morally right on the basis of the consequences. Although there are various types of utilitarianism, the basic approach is that “morality implies that no moral act or rule is right or wrong”. Instead, “the act of right or wrong is solely based on non-moral good such as pleasure, happiness, health, knowledge, or satisfaction of individual desire produced in the consequences of doing that act or following that rule” ( Moreland, 2009). In contrast to deontology, utilitarianism revolves around non-moral good produced that results from moral actions and rules where the moral duty is instrumental. So, “morality is a means to some other end , not an end in itself” (Moreland, 2009). Another type of utilitarianism called hedonistic utilitarianism states that correct actions are determined based on the consequences of pleasure or pain. An opposing view to utilitarianism is the fact that no one can always predict the outcomes of others actions accurately. Since this is impossible, it is better to guess the short-term consequences of the action (Moreland, 2009). The next opposing view is that utilitarianism is excessively demanding and places a large burden on individuals. Because it states that acts are morally right “if and only if they maximize pleasure or well-being”, it makes it seem that leisure activities such as watching television seem morally wrong because it does not maximize well-being (Moreland, 2009). Lastly, there is negative attention surrounding utilitarianism because immoral acts and rules can be justified under this theory. For example, situations such as “genocide, torture, and other evil acts can be justified on the grounds that they ultimately lead to the best outcome” (Moreland, 2009).
Accountants have a major role in society. They perform...

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