Ethical Theories

Ethical Theories - Ethical Theories, Main Principles...

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Ethical Theories, Main Principles Utilitarianism (Mill, p.743) – The right thing to do is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number; happiness is defined as increasing pleasure and/or decreasing pain. This main principle of utilitarianism can be applied on a case by case basis (act utilitarianism) or by considering the consequences of a whole category of actions at once and making a rule about whether that kind of action is right because it produces more happiness (rule utilitarianism). Deontological Theory, Kant (Kant, p.750) – The main principle, or in Kant's terms "categorical imperative", of Kant's ethical theory is: "Act only on that maxim which you can will to be a universal law." In other words, only do things that you would want to be universally applied. If you are considering whether or not to steal something you must ask, "would I want it to be the case that anyone who wanted to steal would be allowed to do so?" Kant says that you would answer "no" because you understand that you wouldn't want people to steal from you. Therefore you can't say that stealing should be universally permitted, and therefore the theory says that stealing is
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Ethical Theories - Ethical Theories, Main Principles...

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