Ethical Theories - Free Essay in Philosophy

Published: 2018-02-08
Ethical Theories - Free Essay in Philosophy
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophy Religion Ethics
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2118 words
18 min read

Different ethical philosophies

Ethics play a crucial role when it comes to the behavior or conduct of the workforce. Ethics can be described as the principles that govern the morals of individuals. The principles assist in the development of good relations in the workforce and act as the basis for solving conflicts that may occur in the workplace. In other words, they help distinguish what is right from wrong and the responsibilities that people have towards each other and their environment. Most of the ethical [principles are derived from the law, people’s values, people’s sense of right and wrong in addition to religious beliefs (Chatterji & Zsolnai, 2016, 45-56). There are various theories associated with ethics; with the focus being on the deontological and the teleological theories.

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Deontological Theory

It is worth noting that both the deontological and teleological theories lie in the normative perspective. The deontological theory focuses on the aspect of responsibility and obligations in regards to moral responsibility. A theory based on deontology highlight the significance of duties based on morals in regards to the intrinsic aspect such that further justification is not required. The view by the deontologists is that morality lies within the constructs of obligations (Hooker, 2012, 23-35). The obligations, in this case, have to do with aligning with the moral principles present in the society. The theory focuses on the aspect of people acting as per the law or rules on moral issues. An act is perceived to be right or wrong in regards to the independence of the outcomes or the feeling associated with its consequences by either following or not following the rule. The aspect of right and wrong is not determined by the consequences, feelings of the views that individuals have but rather the rule of law associated with the act (Hooker, 2012, 23-35). The motivation behind the action is also put into perspective in determining the consequences associated with the rule involved. An action is perceived to be right if it was carried out with the intentions of abiding by a particular rule. For example, suspending a student because of cheating in exams is allowed as that is the consequence if a student does not abide by the exam regulations. In such a scenario, there is no need for justification, as a rule, has already been violated and hence the expected consequences. It, therefore, becomes inevitable, to question the separation of the aspects of pain and happiness and abiding by the rules regarding morals. The guiding principles associated with deontology are based on the Kantian and the divine command theory (Shafer-Landau, 2012, 60-69).

According to the Divine Command Theory, religious authority is the basic foundation for moral growth. It determines the difference between right and wrong. Basing on the Ten Commandments, it is wrong to cheat as it violates one of the commandments. In other words, an action is perceived to be right or wrong as God deems it so. According to the proponents of the Divine Command Theory, the rules that govern the moral of individuals tend to be universal as each person makes part of God’s creation. It is worth noting that there are various sources associated with religious authority. They include; individual revelations from God whereby an individual is personally visited by God and given the rules and revelations by other people whereby a person is given rules by God and passes them to others (Shafer-Landau, 2012, 60-69). The religious authority mostly comes from the ancient texts written by people that were inspired by the divine power. However, it is worth noting that it is important not to monopolize religious authority as the basis of morality in regards to the different views articulated on morality (Frankena, 1988).

Theory Application

The basis of the Kantian theory is that morality can only be experienced in an environment where individuals exercise free will and think rationally. In other words, a person cannot be accused of an act or accorded a responsibility unless he or she can distinguish between right and wrong such that a person can behave in the right manner instead of engaging in a wrong act. According to the Kantian theory, human beings engage in actions that bring about pleasurable outcomes such that they focus on what is right (Shafer-Landau, 2012, 60-69).

Case Analysis

From the deontological perspective, the duty or obligation that Hill has towards electro have to be considered. As stated earlier, the deontological theory focuses on the aspect of responsibility and obligations in regards to moral responsibility. Hill will have to take into consideration the rules laid out by electro and his obligation towards the company before considering taking part in such a deal. According to the case, Hill has been successful in the exactness of the electronic line as the marketing vice president. However, his major debacle is going beyond the sample stage when trying to absorb frequent customers as a result of competition. Cal-Tech seems to be the company of focus for Electro whereby Electro has failed to go beyond the sample stages despite Cal-tech using products that are similar to what Electro produces. Marty Ackersen seems to be the solution to Hill’s problem especially since his boss is keen on Hill’s approach towards Cal-Tech. Ackersen claims that he has connections if Hill accepts the deal and hence possibly Hill having a high chance of being successful in the deal. However, the ethical obligation that he has towards the company makes it wrong for him to engage in such an act. According to the theory, an action is perceived to be right if it was carried out with the intentions of abiding by a particular rule. As the Vice President of Marketing, Hill has the obligation of setting a good example to his followers and hence, by using the moral obligations that he has towards Electro and his followers, it would be advisable for him not to take part in the deal.

Teleological Theory

Teleological theories tend to put more focus on the consequences of a behavior and not the behavior itself. The view on moralism by the teleological theory is that the rational activities that man engages intend to be teleological in nature whereby man focuses on the processes of achieving a particular outcome (Timmons, 2012, 23-30). In other words, man’s moral behavior is guided by specific goals. For example, a student knows that in order to do well in the final exams, he or she has to be disciplined and abide by the school rules in order to experience smooth studying which in return prepares him or her adequately for the final exams. What if he or she considers cheating in the final exams because of not adequately preparing for the exams? Or rather feel that they will miss out on a scholarship if a certain grade is not attained? From the teleological perspective, the behavior of an individual cannot be right or wrong of itself and in itself. What the theory emphasizes on is the consequence associated with an action. The view is that the consequence of an action guide man’s decision in dealing with what is right and wrong (Frankena, 1988). In our example of a student with the desire of passing the final exams, the fact that he or she might be expelled from school when the school becomes aware that he or she cheated, makes the student try as much as possible to work hard and employ own efforts instead of cheating. In other words, from the teleological perspective, cheating in the exam cannot be termed as right or wrong but rather the consequences of the act determine its degree of rightfulness or wrongness. It is worth noting that most theorists base their views that actions are driven by motives or drives. However, the teleological viewpoint nullifies this ideology whereby the motives do not determine whether an act is right or wrong. The highlighted aspect is the consequences; whether positive or negative that influence people to engage in an act (Hinman, 2013, 35-40).

Theory Application

In a more practical perspective, a person might steal food from a store in order to feed his starving family. The act can be approached from two perspectives whereby the individual has no other option of feeding his family and hence possibly right in engaging in the act. However, the act of stealing is against the law and hence a punishable offense. From the teleological perspective, one may question, what are the possibilities of being caught? What might happen if on is caught? What might be fine? Might one go to jail? What would happen to the family when one is caught? Therefore, it becomes easier to seek for other options instead of engaging in the act. By employing such analysis of questions, one is using the teleological theory in distinguishing between right from wrong (Mackinnon, 2016, 71-75).

Case Analysis

From the teleological perspective, the moral behavior of an individual is shaped by the consequences of an action. In this viewpoint, an individual reflects on the outcomes of one action. Therefore, Hill will have to take into consideration the consequences of taking part in the deal; the impact that the deal might have on Electro and Cal-Tech in addition to his career. It may be perceived that by questioning on the possibility of being found out through the commissions, Hill is already applying the teleological theory. Ackersen brings into perspective that he is well connected and hence Hill doesn’t have to worry about the deal. He also reminds him that the deal is the only option if Electro was to conduct business with Cal-Tech. As indicated earlier, from the teleological perspective, the behavior of an individual cannot be right or wrong of itself and in itself. What the theory emphasizes on is the consequence associated with an action. In other words that actions does not determine the rightfulness or the wrongfulness of an action but rather the consequences. About the case, Jack Hill taking part in the deal is neither right nor wrong. However, the consequences are what determine the moral aspect of his participation. Therefore by using the teleological perspective, the possible questions that Jack might consider include; who might be affected by the deal? Might he lose his job once the deal is discovered? What image will Electro have when Cal-Tech becomes aware of the deal? What effect might the deal have in his reputation once the deal is discovered? By asking these questions, it becomes easier for Hill to make a decision on whether to take part in the deal or avoid it. Furthermore, it allows him to look at other options that have positive outcomes.


Chatterji, M. & Zsolnai, L. (2016). Ethical leadership (1st ed., pp. 45-56). [London]: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hooker, B. (2012). Developing deontology (1st ed., pp. 23-35). Malden, MA: Wiley.

Hinman, L. (2013). Ethics (1st ed., pp. 35-40). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub Co.

Mackinnon, B. (2016). Ethics (1st ed., pp. 71-75). London: Wadsworth.

Shafer-Landau, R. (2012). Ethical Theory (1st ed., pp. 60-69). Somerset: Wiley.

Timmons, M. (2012). Moral theory (1st ed., pp. 23-30). New York: Routledge.

Frankena, W. (1988). Ethics (2nd Edition): William K. Frankena. Retrieved 15 January 2017, from

Ethical theories

Critically, the difference that exists between virtue ethics and utilitarian definition of the good is that in utilitarianism has been identified to possess a further disadvantage of assuming that we can reliably measure utility which is not easy. On the other hand, virtual ethics doesntt pretend on knowing the right thing to done in any given situation, about another post it indicates that people who cultivate some virtues tend to make the right decision. The theory and conception of the right lead to the more ethical outcome, in theory, utilitarianism is a better option, in theory, yes in practice, not always in that is not compatible with our values, and the modern versions decrease the universality of it. In virtue ethics, the conception of the right leads to ethical outcomes since real attributes are ethical.

Ideally, any good rationale by which I mean that one should or could be applied in the society, utilizing the practical and the rational ways and most essentially to a pluralist, on whether it has something to do with the plurality of essential ethics theories. It is not ethical for a student to cheat in exams; however, a student has the right to decide on whether to cheat or not to pass exams. Any student who is not prepared can be tempted to cheat though it is not right. With or without supervision, the student should not cheat in their exams.

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