Major Ethical Philosophies

Timeline created by scarlet11
  • Period: 384 BCE to 322 BCE

    The Ethics of Aristotle: Virtue Theory

    In Ethics, where Aristotle laid out the essence of virtue theory, he stated that if we truly desire people to be ethical, then we must have them practice ethics from an early age. What constitutes a virtue in the first place, according to Aristotle? Besides courage, the virtues include wisdom, kindness, love, beauty, honesty, and justice.
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    The Ethics of Kant: Deontology

    As an ethical system, it is the radical opposite of utilitarianism in that it holds that the consequences of a moral decision are of no matter whatsoever. According to Kant, the moral worth of an action is determined by the human will, which is the only thing in the world that can be considered good without qualification. Good will is exercised by acting according to moral duty/law.
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    The Ethics of Jeremy Bentham: Utilitarianism

    Bentham lays much of his theory out in An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789). There, he proposes the hedonic calculus—from the Greek hedone, or pleasure—as a mechanism by which one can determine the amount of pleasure versus pain in moral choices.
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    The Ethics of John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism

    John Stuart Mill, as he reached adulthood, became a leader of the second generation of utilitarians. In his most important work on political freedoms, On Liberty (1859), he introduced the no-harm rule. By this, Mill proposed that no individual be deprived of his or her right to act in any fashion, even a self-destructive one, provided that his or her action does not impinge physically on others.
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    The Ethics of John Rawls: Justice Theory

    He labeled his ethics to be “justice as fairness,” It was laid out formally in 1971 with the publication of his A Theory of Justice. Rawls insisted, human justice must be centered on a firm foundation comprising a first and second principle. The First Principle means that everyone has the same basic liberties, which can never be taken away. The Second Principle focused on equality.