Consider an ethical dilemma you or someone you know faced recently and analyze the possible resolutions considering the following:
•How did you decide how to resolve the ethical dilemma? Did you focus on the possible consequences of various choices? Did you consider how your actions would affect other people in your life, community, or in the world? Did you apply a moral rule that you believe has universal authority? Alternatively, did you consider what a person you admire would do?
•Which ethical theory that we’ve studied this week most resembles the approach you took in resolving your ethical dilemma? For example, if you thought about consequences, how did your approach compare to the utilitarian principles we’ve studied this week?
•Would another ethical theory have come to a different conclusion? Explain why or why not.
this is what we discussed in class this week:
To recap this week, we talked a bit about ethical theories in general before moving to a specific discussion of some key ethical viewpoints. We learned that utilitarianism and deontological theory both explain human good, but they differ fundamentally on what that good is. Utilitarianism suggests that we should be primarily concerned with the consequences of human actions, and deontological theory focuses on human duties mostly independent of consequences.
We also examined virtue ethics, and the idea that ethics should be more concerned with the kind of character we develop than with what we do. Finally, we returned to our examination of existentialism, and the idea that freedom and ethics are intimately intertwined. We reflected upon ways in which we might dismiss universal ethical values while still being responsible for other people.