Aristotle considers virtue to fall in between scarcity and overabundance. He believed that we should focus more so on how we act than the results or intentions of our actions. To understand ethics, according to Aristotle, it was necessary to observe the behavior of other people.
Aristotle was very practical in his approach and many of his beliefs were based on the actual actions of people. Aristotle assumes that humans innately think and behave in ways to achieve some sort of happiness.
He suggests that we should enjoy life, but not overindulge ourselves. In his eyes it is virtuous to live your life in moderation.
Kant’s deontological ethics pursue the principle that an individual must follow the rules or laws established in their community regardless of outcome. Religion works in this way in that we are morally obligated not to steal, lie or kill. His philosophy dictated that some acts are always wrong, even if they produce a respectable result.
The activity is passed judgement on freely of the result. A demonstration can be ethically awful yet may unexpectedly prompt a great result. Deontological theory is based on a person having the ability to be rational. Morality should, in principle, give individuals a system of rational tenets that guide and prevent certain actions and are autonomous of individual expectations and wants.
Utilitarianism is defined as, “the doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct”.
In other words, an action is considered to be morally right only if it produces a positive outcome or, alternatively, if it prevents a negative outcome.
I think the most important takeaway from Aristotle’s virtue ethics is the way we should act. At times you may find yourself wanting to take some quick action because you think it could present a beneficial result for yourself or someone else. However, if you hastily make a decision, and something goes wrong, suddenly you are in bigger trouble than you were when you started. It’s not the intentions of your action that matter, even more so if you failed to accomplish what you had set out to. I would consider that to be adding salt to wound because you actually made things worse and ended up with a negative outcome. Things can sometimes work themselves out and fall into place naturally. The world is full of mysteries and it’s better to not take uncertain risks.
The most important takeaway from Kant’s deontological ethics is that society can benefit from having established rules one must follow. One modern day example would be speed limits on roads. An individual driving 25 mph over the speed limit may decide that his/her decision is ok because it will result in arriving at their destination faster. However, as a society we are consciously aware and acknowledge the fact that this type of behavior is dangerous not only to the reckless driver, but all other drivers on the road. This world is not all about only one person, it is about everyone. Logically, people want to make the world as great as it can possibly be because we are all living on it. If an individual only makes decisions for their personal gain, then they are a problem to society.
The most important aspect of utilitarian ethics is to act in ways that have an outward positive impact. According to this philosophy, two “wrongs” can in fact make a right. The example I presented during a class discussion: Shooting someone who broke and entered your home in the middle of the night. Laws established by our society regarding the unlawful entering of a structure to commit a felony or theft exist to protect us. If someone breaks into your house, your first priority is ensuring the safety of yourself and your family by any means necessary. There is no use in making assumptions regarding the intruder’s intentions. Quite simply, there is no way to know for sure what kind of person you are dealing with and what they may be willing to do. You hope for the best and prepare for the worst in a situation like this. There is a good reason for why justifiable homicide, murder in self defense, exists under United States law. If a serial rapist broke into your home attempting to rape/kill you, logically, you are allowed to defend yourself under United States law. Even if that means possibly shooting and killing the intruder.
In reference to utilitarian ethics, non-criminal homicide committed in self-defense would be considered to be an act that prevented a negative outcome. The potential negative outcome having been, for example, your entire family being murdered. In turn this justifiable homicide also serves to rid the world of a criminal who was a problem to our society as a whole. From a utilitarian standpoint there are situations when actions such as murder would be considered good.
The varying cultures of our world has nothing to due with the definition or meaning of social responsibility. The majority of the world’s cultures generally agree on the ethics of acts such as theft, rape or murder. While the social norms may not be exactly the same in different parts of the world, the United States and Japan, for example, both agree that stealing is a bad thing for a citizen to do. Of course, understanding someone else’s culture will help to prevent any minor unintended conflict, but in the grand scheme of things most reasonable people would recognize and forgive a foreigner’s honest mistake. Additionally, there are a select few countries that I will never visit. Regardless of the high standards I hold myself to, some cultures are simply so toxic they are beyond the point of being civil with anyone. This is not to suggest that anyone from a certain culture is toxic inherently. I absolutely believe that people who manage to leave their country are capable of adopting the necessary ethical values to be a responsible citizen of the world.
Within a nation every individual is partially responsible for the well-being of the country. I believe that it is important to live in a democracy. A democracy is a government for the people, by the people. A vote based system is the type of government that gives its citizens the most opportunity, the most freedom, the best fortune, and the most pleasant life.
I would firstly engage in a regional/national community that illuminated the horrors of unethical business practices happening in our country. Supporting and promoting ethical business practices motivates me for several reasons. One has to do with the propaganda websites, such as Facebook, can promote. In this day and age social media platforms dominate in more ways than one. We have almost reached the point where more people get their news from social media than cable television and that is significant considering how much power companies like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have regarding what they allow on their service. These companies now have a responsibility to the citizens of the nation to stay central and not shove their political agenda down our throats. When it was revealed that Facebook had accepted large sums of money to aggressively advertise political statements, most of which proved to be false information, Americans were furious. This is a public issue that can affect the current and future state of our country. Through a change in how these online forums are regulated, many of the social conflicts we are having today could be diminished.