What is ethics? Ethics is defined as the study or discipline which concerns itself with judgments of approval and disapproval, judgments as to the rightness or wrongness, goodness or badness, virtue or vice, desirability or wisdom of actions, dispositions, ends, objects, or states of affairs. There are three different approaches to ethics. These viewpoints are Consequentialism, Non consequentialism and Virtue Ethics. According to the module, “Consequentialism means that one bases morality on the consequences of action.” There are two different types of consequentialist discussed in this module. Those types are Ethical Egoism and Utilitarianism. According to the module, “Ethical Egoism, sometimes called Universal Ethical Egoism, holds that everyone should always act in his or her own best self interest.” However, “Utilitarianism says that mortality is based on how much pleasure or good is produces, for all people concerned, in a given moral situation. Non Consequentialism has no concern for consequences and Virtue Ethics is about using personal characteristics. Kantian Duty Ethics is an example of Non Consequentialism. Aristotle Ethics and Confucius Ethics are both examples of Virtue Ethics.
From what I understand of the three basic approaches, non consequentialism resonates with me the most. The reason why non consequentialism resonates with me the most is because it is the type of ethical behavior that I believe I live by. I do not live my life and make decisions solely reflected from the consequences. I am not saying that I never think about the consequences of my actions. However, what’s wrong or right in my opinion is what matters most. Additionally, I believe that if you do the right thing there won’t be a negative consequence to follow. Where as if you do the wrong thing, you should suspect there to be a negative consequence. Non consequentialism ignores consequences. I believe that non consequentialism could be a worthy ethical system and also an unworthy ethical system based on the individual using it. The reason why I believe that non consequentialism could be both a worthy and unworthy ethical system depending on the individual is because a like a said before, a person like be believes that something ethical will have positive consequences and something unethical will have negative consequences. Another person who could care less about consequences will only focus on what benefits them and nothing more. In my opinion, this alone make it an unethical system. For example, a non consequentialist may feel as though because they are poor, it is okay to rob a bank in order to have money to survive. They will not consider the consequences an in my opinion this is unethical. If that person got caught robbing the back, they would be arrested which is a negative consequence. This proves my point that a unethical decision will most likely have a negative consequence to follow.
Additionally, ethical egoism emphasizes the reality of an individual. From what I understood from the module, ethical egoism and individualism could go hand and hand after all, a friendship definitely benefits both party. If not, then maybe you should reconsider that friendship. I personally would not have someone as a friend if I gained nothing from the friendship. I do not believe this is a good way to determine if something is ethical because even if something benefits one party, it may not benefit the other.
Furthermore, I believe utilitarianism is a worthy ethical system because it thinks about the best outcome for everyone concerned. I believe when it comes to ethics, a system works best when it benefits the group rather than just one individual. I also think that utilitarianism could be a worthy ethical system because if you are basing a certain situation on a case by case basis, the outcome could be totally different. Even though what you have done or will attempt to do could be a crime, the end result may be better for the majority and that alone could be enough to make something ethical.
This module is important to me because I believe it may help people distinguish how to tell if something is right or wrong. Also, it could help a person categorize how themselves on how they determine if something is ethical. This by far was my favorite module. In closing, the module relates to module 7 – epistemology as that module talks about knowledge and truth which could helps us better understand the ideas in this module. In my opinion, knowing whats the truth and what could be right or wrong could coexist.