What theory of ethics makes the most sense?

Discussions relating to good and evil, right and wrong, values, virtues, duty, and natural rights

What theory of ethics makes the most sense?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:11 pm

Morality and ethics are similar concepts, but not exactly the same. Morality is the ongoing practice of deciding what is right and wrong, and ethics are the rules that one forms to figure out what is right and wrong. So the best way to start is to find the theory of ethics that makes the most sense.

If you are familiar with arguments in favor of virtue ethics (based on being good, not doing good), deontological ethics (one's duty), utilitarian ethics (that which produces the greatest happiness), and rights based ethical systems (in which it is best to respect people's rights), which of these makes the most sense and why? Do you prefer some combination of these? Or something else altogether?
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Re: What theory of ethics makes the most sense?

Postby Guest on Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:02 pm

Dear Sir;
I find in you a kindred soul who has at last found an enlightened approach to the roiled waters of the differences between morals and ethics.
In my own humble but overly simplified opinion; is that morals are far too flexible to ever be accepted on a universal basis. A perfect example of this is that what is considered
moral and proper in one part of the world, is considered an abomination in another, both
socially and religiously.
Ethics, on the other hand present a more sublime outlook; for ethics propose the very basic fact that those who wish no harm to others wish no harm to themselves.
Since the dawn of Humankind, there has always been a "Priest Cult" consisting of people
who were too unskilled to hunt or simply abhored the idea of an honest days work, opting instead to live of the collective fears of the primitive people by inventing vengeful dieties
and dire consecquences for those adhere to whatever hairbrained ideas that entered the
priest's selfserving purposes.
In closing; I wish you success in the publication of this very insightful manucript that you obviously devoted a tremendous amount of time, thought and energy to.
I hope that in the near future, I can be of help to you in bringing this work to fruition.

Respectfully yours,
unclejim92
.
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Re: What theory of ethics makes the most sense?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:19 pm

Thank you very much unclejim92 for your post and welcome to this site. Upon reading your post, I realized that I didn't attempt to explain the difference between morality an ethics from the start. I just edited the first post I made in this topic based in part on the definitions I read in a dictionary. I'm not sure if this is what you had in mind. Let me know if it isn't and we can discuss it further.

Side note: this reminds me of the move "Election" in which both Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick's character attempt to clear up this difference at different points in the movie. I wasn't completely following the points made at the time, but as I understand it, the author of the book on which the movie is based intended the plot of the movie and the choices the characters make to highlight this difference.

One last thing: you have already helped out my efforts to get my book published by becoming a member and posting here. If you wish to provide additional help, just mention this site to your friends. Thank you for your support and I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.
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Re: What theory of ethics makes the most sense?

Postby horntooth on Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:34 am

how about- it's our duty to be good and do that which produces the most happiness. eclectic. :mrgreen:
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Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live. Socrates
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Re: What theory of ethics makes the most sense?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:49 pm

horntooth wrote:how about- it's our duty to be good and do that which produces the most happiness. eclectic. :mrgreen:

Well, yes, what you have said seems to incorporate both duty ethics and utilitarian ethics, but the fact that you put this in terms of consequences means that it does not fall under duty ethics, but consequentialism (utilitarianism is a specific type of consequentialism). According to the definition of duty ethics, one's duty is not at all determined by the consequences of an action or even the expected consequences of an action, but instead by one's duty, which is usually formulated as a set of rules for what to do. These rules can't take into account expected consequences, otherwise its not duty ethics. I personally don't think duty ethics make sense. Kant came up with this as a way of avoiding subjectivity in decision making, thinking that his categorical impartive would make decision making objective. He was wrong. Ethics can never be completely objective. This does not mean that they are figments of our imagination though. I happen to believe that there is an inherent right and wrong and that we have the ability to figure this out, at least some of the time. But this comes from our very real subjective experience, which though it cannot be objective, it is no less real.
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