Consequentialism: Principia Ethics by G.E. Moore

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People have opinions and ideas when it comes to ethical dilemmas. There are many examples: The debate on abortion, the trolley problem, and moral absolutism, to name just a few. In all of these examples it appears that emotion and feelings will, at some point, override an important ethical decision that needs to be made. An important factor of an ethical dilemma is how and when it might appear. Some dilemma's, like the debate on abortion, can appear in a way that there is time to talk through all options and available ethical concepts. In this type of dilemma it is possible to see how moral rules and ethical theories can be discussed and a decision made through compromise. In contrast, when a situation that poses dire ethical consequences calls for a moral action there must be a solution that is grounded in moral principle and that can be accessed quickly and efficiently producing the most desirable results. The principal that would seem the best candidate in these situations is consequentialism. To best define consequentialism the famous English philosopher G.E. Moore declared in his book Principia Ethics that “Acts are morally right just because they maximize the amount of goodness in the world.” Moore believed that if you failed to accept the idea that it was right to maximize good, you did not know what you were talking about (297). What is unique about consequentialism is that it asks us to act in a way where the greatest benefit is made for the greatest number of people. Consequentialism asks us to look at the consequences of our actions. If the result will produce the most good, then the end justifies the means. The direct opposite of consequentialism is the ethical theory of deontology. Deontology suggests that no matter ... ... middle of paper ... ...t or wrong in any situation. By using the principles of consequentialism the guess work of deciding what to do in a dilemma can easily be solved by doing what creates the best overall result. Works Cited Aquinas, Thomas Summa Theologica. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Sacred- texts.com, n.d. Web. 07 July 2013. . Foot, Philippa. Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon, 2002. Print. Moore, G. E., and Thomas Baldwin. "VI: The Ideal." Principia Ethica. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1993. 297. Print. Moore, Ronald D. "Battlestar Galactica (TV Miniseries)." Battlestar Galactica. Dir. Michael Rymer. The Sci Fi Channel. SyFy, 08 Dec. 2003. Television. Unger, Peter K. Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

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