Ethics, Kantian, And Aristotelian Theory

959 Words4 Pages
Buddhist ethics, although likened to some Western ethical theories, is not in fact the same as those theories. The most common Western theories it is compared with are; Utilitarianism, Kantian, and Aristotelian. Specifically, Utilitarianism does not address the meaning of being a good person in its definition of right action. Kant does not address the different classes as having different laws but believes in one set of universal laws and Aristotle believes in the perfection of a self that does not exist in Buddhism. These differences can be seen through the evaluation of how a person comes to a decision about an ethical problem. The trolley cart problem presented by Philippa Foot. The problem is making a decision between two options that both result in death. The first option results in the death of one person but the saving of five people’s lives. The second option would result in the death of five people and the life of one. In the first option you are consciously interfering with an event and changing that event in order to save lives. In the second option your action is inaction, letting the event happen, and letting the five people die while the one person lives. Using utilitarianism ethics, one would come to the conclusion that you must intervene and save the lives of the five people while sacrificing the life of one person. This is because Utilitarianism is concerned with actions that produce the greatest good for the greatest number. Deciding to kill the one
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