Compare and Contrast Five Ethical Models

3150 words 13 pages
Compare and Contrast Five Ethical Models
Ethics and Society, MPA 607
Alexis E. Anthony
Belhaven University
February 28, 2013
Ethics play an integral and necessary part in our lives. An individual’s course of action is dictated by which ethical model they adhere to. Ethics answers the question, "What do I do?" It is the study of right and wrong. “At a more fundamental level, it is the method by which we categorize our values and pursue them. Do we pursue our own happiness, or do we sacrifice ourselves to a greater cause? Is that foundation of ethics based on the Bible, or on the very nature of man himself, or neither?” (Hursthouse, 2012)
A proper foundation of ethics requires a standard of value so that an
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The practice of slavery in pre-Civil war U.S. society or the practice of apartheid in South Africa is wrong despite the beliefs of those societies. The treatment of the Jews in Nazi society is morally reprehensible regardless of the moral beliefs of Nazi society” (Ethical Relativism).
While this learner does not think the ethical relativism school of thought thoroughly addresses ethical issues, this model does have some redeeming qualities. This model encourages study and understanding of different cultures. It also allows opportunity for practitioners of other schools of though to examine their beliefs and determine if they are valid or simply carry-overs from previous generations.
The next ethical model this learner will discuss is the Utilitarian Model. Under Utilitarianism, an action is judged as right or wrong based on the resulting consequences. Right actions are considered as those that produce the most happiness for the population. “Jeremy Bentham was the first to formally write down ideas about utilitarian theory (Shanahan & Wang, 2003). Bentham’s original views were influenced by his background in economics and government. Several key assumptions are characteristic of Bentham’s views. First, he believed that pleasure and pain influenced human behavior and human decision-making. Consequently, what is good or bad is related to what is pleasurable or painful,


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