Ethical Theories

Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics and the Four Principles

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 10-05-11 11:22
Preview of Ethical Theories

First 401 words of the document:

Ethical Theories
Greatest good for the greatest number of people
The basis for judging an action is the results or consequences it is
likely to yield.
Teleological theories are consequentialists.
Utilitarianism cannot be faulted on its morals as it clearly seeks
the happiness and fairness for the largest number of people, which
has always been an important consideration in the works of
government and other major powers, as well as in everyone's
everyday life.
Also, it considers the consequences of all actions, which is key in
building a civilized society. If people were not aware of
consequences then there would be no deterrent to commit crime.
Also, it encourages a democratic approach to decision making,
and minorities are not allowed to dominate.
It does not rely on any controversial or unverifiable theological or
metaphysical claims or principals, so it is accessible to everyone.
Offers a means of approaching ethics in a systematic way.
Not every action committed will produce a good consequence or
outcome. ==
The theory is very simplistic, it relies on one single principle. ==
Utilitarianism is based on the majority of people being happy
(known as the principle of the greatest happiness of the greatest
number), therefore even though there is a majority of people that
are happy, there is still a small minority. Therefore Utilitarianism
does not ensure 100% of people being happy (: ==
Many people rely on insticnt. The entire idea of utilitariansim, as
idealistic as it is, is hardly applied as it takes a long time to come
do a decision. ==
The theory could actually be twisted and used to do bad. The
fabrication of the theory could come about just by an indicidual
believing their actions will result in a greater number of people
being happy. ==
Even in it's basic principle, utilitariansim does not follow the guide
of the law. ==
The measurement of happiness, pleasure and pain is extremally
hard to define and record. Another persons pain could be anothers
Finally, there is the actual misunderstanding of utilitarianism itself.
The original creator of the theory, Bentham, his theories can be
very misleading and often hard to understand.

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Situation Ethics
Situationist Fletcher quoted a St Louis cab driver who said
"Sometimes you've gotta put your principles to one side and do
the right thing". Rules (or principles) aren't the same thing as
doing what is right. Some ethical theories suggest legalistic rules
that mustn't be broken, This is wrong as it makes rules more
important than people, and doesn't allow exceptions. There are
antinomians who reject rules entirely.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

Personalism Situation Ethics puts people first. People are more
important than rules. "Man was not made for the Sabbath".
It allows for the diversity that is present in the world.
It understands that life is not black and white.
Cultures may believe that their practices are more justifiable than
other cultural practices, but by using a relativist approach, this will
allow for acceptance between different peoples.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all resources »