The chart below outlines 4 ethical perspectives.
Read each one and make a determination about what perspective you personally identify with.

As a group, create a set of questions and answers that could test a person (like a personality test) to determine which theory they subscribe to. Create at least 5 questions.

Sample question: You are at a restaurant and when you receive the bill, you realize that the server forgot to put your drinks on the bill (saving you about $15 dollars). What do you do?

a) Inform the server, you shouldn't not pay for an item or service you received. (Moral Rules)
b) Inform the server, it is the right thing to do and you want to be a good role model to your children. (Virtues)
c) Do not inform the sever, but give him a larger tip, that way you both benefit. (Outcomes)
d) Inform the server, it would harm the company to not pay for item . (Principles)

Key principles

Four ethical frameworks: duty-based ethics, virtue-based ethics, consequence ethics, and principle-based ethics.

  1. Duty-Based Ethics:

    • Focus: This ethical framework is centered on the concept of duty or moral obligation.
    • Key Principle: Actions are inherently right or wrong, regardless of the consequences, and are guided by moral principles or rules.
    • Example: One must act according to rules that could be universally applied without contradiction.

      “The ends do not justify the means.”

      "Rules should not be broken, they are there for a reason"

  2. Virtue-Based Ethics :

    • Focus: This framework emphasizes the development of moral character and virtues.
    • Key Principle: The focus is on cultivating virtues such as honesty, courage, and integrity, rather than strictly following rules or maximizing good consequences.
    • Example: Individuals should aim for the mean between excess and deficiency in virtues.

      “What is ethical is what develops moral virtues in ourselves and our community

  3. Consequence Ethics :

    • Focus: Consequence-based ethics evaluates actions based on their outcomes or results.
    • Key Principle: The morality of an action is determined by the overall good or bad consequences it produces.
    • Example: Utilitarianism, where the goal is to maximize overall happiness or pleasure and minimize suffering.

      “Of any two actions, the most ethical one will produce the greatest balance of benefits.”

      “The ends do justify the means.”

  4. Principle-Based Ethics (Principlism):
    • Focus: This framework relies on a set of moral principles to guide ethical decision-making.
    • Key Principle: Four principles form a set of pillars for moral life: respect for autonomy, justice, doing no harm, and ultimately doing good
    • Example: In medical ethics, the four principles approach includes autonomy respecting patients' choices and avoiding harm.

     “Uphold the pillars whenever possible according to the situation.”

    “Take the agent, act, and consequence all into consideration and proceed in the path that follows the principles.”


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