Ethics Theories and their Application

In philosophy, ethics can be defined as a branch of social science that seeks to outline, organize, protect, and commend what should define correct and incorrect conduct or demeanor. Ethics in society are significant because they seek to deal with issues of human ethics by coming up with a definition of what constitutes as good or bad conduct, justice, and virtues. Having discussed the issue of ethics and morality as advanced by different philosophers in this course, I now believe I have a deep understanding of the issue (Fredrickson, 2015). This paper will give a detailed personal view of how I believe the issue of ethics should be approached and in doing so; I will discuss different theories of ethics to support my arguments

 Everyone in society should practice the ethical principle that I believe is the one where one has to consider the outcomes of their actions or decisions. This ethical principle is advanced by the consequential ethical theories and more so the utilitarian ethical perspective. This perspective of ethics places the importance of right and wrong solely on the outcomes of decisions or actions of an individual (Daft & Marcic, 2009). This ethical principle states that when an individual is deciding anything in their lives, they should look beyond their interest and consider how the decisions they are about to make will impact on others in their society. This is the foundation this ethical principle is based on and it calls on people to consider the impact of their decisions on others within the society. 

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The other two approaches in ethics are based on principles and integrity. These two approaches are very virtuous because they encourage people to stick to their values and act in integrity all the time (Daft & Marcic, 2009). Even though these are two virtuous ways to live, they fall short in many ways because they advocate for one to be rigid and consistent in their behavior no matter the circumstances. For example, individuals following the integrity approaches in ethics would always say the truth no matter the circumstances that are prevailing. For example, if it occurs people are running or hiding from a terrorist who happens to meet a person who subscribes to ethical theories of integrity and asks them where the people are hiding when such an individual will be obligated to tell the truth. This truth will lead to many deaths of innocent people (Fredrickson, 2015). This is exactly what would happen if individual who adheres to the principles approach to ethics, and they believe they should never say any untruth whatever the circumstances.

This is the main reason I subscribe to utilitarian ethical theories that are flexible and allows one to make logical decisions, depending on the circumstances they are faced in and this is why such a set of theories are practical in many areas of the sphere. For example, governments and policymakers should not always be guided by what is right and wrong but what is best for the majority in society. To illustrate this, I will use an example of a dangerous communicable affecting a few people in a country. When this occurs, for example, it would be upon the policymakers in the country to round up all those infected and detain or isolate them as this is would help protect the rest of the population (Daft & Marcic, 2009). Utilitarian ethics would dictate that even though detaining and isolating an individual is against fundamental human rights, it would be prudent to suspend such thinking for some time to help protect the public from the sick.


Daft, D & Marcic, (2009). Understanding Ethics. New York, NY: Cengage LearningFredrickson, B (2015). Principles of Ethics. Chicago, IL: Cengage Learning.

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