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Review of Three Ethical Theories - Essay Example

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Review of Three Ethical Theories

According to this theory, individuals are seen as rational and utility maximizing entities. Several business decisions today are based on this principle; that is, the correct business decision is one that maximizes the net benefit to the society. Thus, the decision which is in the best interests of the society is one that maximizes the net benefit to the society. The founder of traditional Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, argued that best and most valuable judgments are those that are based on objective considerations (Scarre, 1996). Thus, the benefits and costs of each public policy should be weighed and then the policy should be executed only if the benefits outweigh the costs. The theory inherently assumes that the costs and benefits can be measured (Scarre, 1996). Thus, the value of the costs can be subtracted from the value of benefits. The theory does not aim at maximizing an individual’s utility. It aims at maximizing the net benefits to the society. The provision of public and merit goods is based on this theory. It is consistent with morality since it takes into account ‘everyone’s’ interests in equal amount. ...
According to him, each individual have a moral right to this and that this moral right of individuals translates into duties for other individuals. The first foundation of this imperative is based on the principles of universibility and reversibility (Butler, 2008). Thus, individuals must ask themselves how they would feel if other treated them the same way and how would they feel if everyone did the same. Thus, according to Kant, the immoral decisions and actions were those that one wouldn’t want for oneself (Butler, 2008). The second imperative states that individuals ought not to be treated merely as means; that is, their capacity to choose freely for themselves must also be developed. This clearly demonstrates that while the Utilitarians imply an ‘economically rational’ justification for actions, Rights Ethics correctly captures the human values and goes beyond the traditional cost-benefit analysis. Thus, according to Utilitarians, individuals could be deprived of their right to liberty simply because the net benefit isn’t maximized (Jeurissen, 2007). Hence, Rights Ethics takes a step forward by respecting not only the positive but also the negative rights of individuals ( that is, the freedom from coercion). Thus, the Rights Ethics many of the flaws associated with the Utilitarian view. Firstly, the utilitarian view simplistically assumes that all the consequences of an action can be quantitatively measured (Smart & Williams, 1973). This is not always the case. For instance, how could one assign a value to one’s life? Secondly, it deals insufficiently with rights, morals and justice (Smart & Williams, 1973). As outlined in the following ...Show more

Summary

Section 1 This section is devoted to the comparison of three ethical theories, namely, Utilitarianism, Rights Ethics and the Ethics of Justice. The Utilitarianism ethics is based on the premise that individual’s course of action should be evaluated in terms of the costs and benefits that will be imposed on the society as a result of those actions (Mill, 1963)…
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