A Review of Ethics Concepts & Theories

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A Review of Ethics Concepts & Theories Educational Objectives: 1. Explain the type of problem that is addressed by philosophers. 2. Explain how ethical norms help address ethical issues that arise in accountancy. 3. Contrast the views of Mills, Machiavelli and Kant. 4. Describe what is meant by a social contract. 5. Analyze a given situation and tell why it would be appropriate or inappropriate to lie. 6. Explain the views of Kierkegaard and contrast him from other existentialists. 7. Discuss the concept that ethics cannot be based on religion. 8. Explain the use of ethical reasoning and how it can be used in your professional life. Introduction The major ethical principles…show more content…
Rule-utilitarianism evaluates human behavior based on specific rules that must be applied uniformly in all situations. For example, a rule that states it is unethical to kill another human must be applied in all settings. It is not acceptable to enforce laws on some, while allowing others to break the laws with limited or no consequences. While some rules are easy to reconcile, others are more difficult. Ethicists have struggled with rules such as, “You should not lie.” In most general circumstances ethicists would agree that lying is wrong; however, does the rule apply in all situations? Deontological (Kantian Deontology): Deontological ethics holds to the principle that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Kant proposed rules or Categorical Imperatives to help us follow ethical guidelines. Kant maintained that these should not be broken at any time. While some would agree, others maintain that under specific situations, even the Categorical Imperatives should be ignored for the greater good. To Lie or not to Lie: Under both rule-utilitarianism and Kantian deontological ethical principles, rules must be applied universally. Kant realized the consequences of this argument, but he steadfastly maintained that the Categorical Imperatives could not be ignored. Others have disagreed. Detrick Bonhoffer, a Lutheran pastor in Nazi,
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