SUMMARY OF ETHICS TYPES

Ethical relativism

* Often disparaging, what's ethical depends on the individual, the group, the culture, tradition, background

* E.g., Student caught breaking into computer says that, at another university where he came from, it was accepted and encouraged

* Argument against: Just because one class of individuals does something, doesn't mean it's right

Utilitarianism

* One must act to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number

* Places public good over private good

* Possible harmful to minorities and individuals, sacrificed for the majority

* The ends justify the means

Deontological theories

* It's about moral obligation

* It's about actions (not ends)

* Rejects acts that harm minorities, individuals

* Stems from Immanual Kant

* Opposite of utilitarianism

* "Do what is right, though the world should perish."


Last updated 95/10/02
Copyright H. Rex Hartson, 1995