It persisted as the dominant approach in Western moral philosophy until at least the Enlightenment, suffered a momentary eclipse during the nineteenth century, but re-emerged in Anglo-American philosophy in the late s. Neither of them, at that time, paid attention to a number of topics that had always figured in the virtue ethics tradition—virtues and vices, motives and moral character, moral education, moral wisdom or discernment, friendship and family relationships, a deep concept of happiness, the role of the emotions in our moral life and the fundamentally important questions of what sorts of persons we should be and how we should live.
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The history of Western ethics Ancient civilizations to the end of the 19th century The ancient Middle East and Asia. The first ethical precepts must have been passed down by word of mouth from parents and elders, but as societies learned to use the written word, they began to set down their ethical beliefs. These records constitute the first historical . The primary difference between utilitarianism and virtue ethics is the mode and means of human fulfillment. This lesson describes these two philosophical views and explores their positions on the. Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy. Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory.. Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be .
Deontological Ethics There are two major ethics theories that attempt to specify and justify moral rules and principles: Utilitarianism also called consequentialism is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill There are several varieties of utilitarianism.
But basically, a utilitarian approach to morality implies that no moral act e. Rather, the rightness or wrongness of an act or rule is solely a matter of the overall nonmoral good e. In sum, according to utilitarianism, morality is a matter of the nonmoral good produced that results from moral actions and rules, and moral duty is instrumental, not intrinsic.
Morality is a means to some other end; it is in no way an end in itself.
Space does not allow for a detailed critique of utilitarianism here. Suffice it to say that the majority of moral philosophers and theologians have found it defective.
One main problem is that utilitarianism, if adopted, justifies as morally appropriate things that are clearly immoral. For example, utilitarianism can be used to justify punishing an innocent man or enslaving a small group of people if such acts produce a maximization of consequences.
But these acts are clearly immoral regardless of how fruitful they might be for the greatest number. For this and other reasons, many thinkers have advocated a second type of moral theory, deontological ethics. Deontological ethics is in keeping with Scripture, natural moral law, and intuitions from common sense.
The rightness or wrongness of an act or rule is, at least in part, a matter of the intrinsic moral features of that kind of act or rule. For example, acts of lying, promise breaking, or murder are intrinsically wrong and we have a duty not to do these things.
This does not mean that consequences of acts are not relevant for assessing those acts. For example, a doctor may have a duty to benefit a patient, and he or she may need to know what medical consequences would result from various treatments in order to determine what would and would not benefit the patient.
But consequences are not what make the act right, as is the case with utilitarianism. Rather, at best, consequences help us determine which action is more in keeping with what is already our duty.
Consequences help us find what is our duty, they are not what make something our duty. Second, humans should be treated as objects of intrinsic moral value; that is, as ends in themselves and never as a mere means to some other end say, overall happiness or welfare.
As we will see in Part Two, this notion is very difficult to justify if one abandons the theological doctrine of man being made in the image of God.It is the prime example of character-based ethics, and is very different from rule-based ethics, such as Kantian, Natural Law and Utilitarianism.
Good opening paragraph which sets the scene well. Make it clear that it is rule utilitarianism which is rule-based, as generally utilitarianism is simply consequentialist. Virtue ethics emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, while deontology emphasizes duties or rules, and utilitarianism emphasizes the consequences of actions.
The history of Western ethics Ancient civilizations to the end of the 19th century The ancient Middle East and Asia. The first ethical precepts must have been passed down by word of mouth from parents and elders, but as societies learned to use the written word, they began to set down their ethical beliefs.
These records constitute the first historical . Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics.
It may, initially, be identified as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach that emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy.
Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory.. Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be .
Utilitarianism: Greatest Happiness Principle - Utilitarianism, originally introduced by Jeremy Bentham and extended by John Stuart Mill, (Mark Timmons, ) is an ethical theory which states that to be good is to deliver the greatest amount of happiness to most of the people based on the consequences of the action.