There are numerous views and opinions regarding the field of philosophy, in particularly the different ethical theories. I am going to explain the main idea as well as discuss the differences between the utilitarianism, the deontological, and the virtue-ethical theories of morality by presenting what I find to be the strengths and weaknesses of each theory.
The first general ethical theory I am going to discuss is the utilitarian theory. Simply put, utilitarianism is doing what will benefit the most people and cause the most happiness or pleasure. For example, assume you won the lottery and have one million dollars in cash. The utilitarian would argue that you should give all of that money away to people who may need it more than you. By giving this money away you would be bringing more people happiness than if you just kept it all for yourself so therefore you would give it away if you followed the utilitarian theory. This theory puts the most emphasis on the outcome of our actions.
The two people who really laid the foundation for utilitarianism were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Bentham distinguished two main features of utilitarianism- the consequentialist principle and the utility principle. The consequentialist principle argues that you can determine what is right or wrong by what results follow your action; if what follows your action is good then you did what is right whereas if what follows is bad, you did the wrong thing. The utility principle says that what is right or wrong can simply be determined from the feeling produced from the act. If your actions bring you happiness or joy for example, you did what is right. Bentham also developed the hedonic calculus, a method for measuring ...
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...er case than the utilitarian approach. I perceive deontology’s greatest strength to be that it, somewhat, takes into account the fact that almost all ethical decisions are different. I interpret the meaning of deontology to be if you mean good and follow your moral set of rules then you are good. Unlike the utilitarian theory this theory is more about if your intentions are good, rather than what the actual outcome is (it is hard to predict a certain outcome). With that being said this is also something that I consider to be a weakness because it doesn’t take the outcome or consequences of an action into consideration at all. According to deontologist you cannot lie, but I would argue that there are certain circumstances when one needs to lie. For one to completely ignore the possible consequences of an action is not the best way to go about making a decision.
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