Essay on Ethics: Where Do We Learn What Constitutes Right or Wrong?

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Ethics: where do we learn what constitutes right or wrong?
Under the three schools of ethical thought, Utilitarianism, Deontological and Virtue Ethics, you will find that there are varied and different views of how we come by our value systems and how we determine right and wrong. However, in all three of these schools of thought there is one underlying commonality: ethical relativism deems that a person’s values and judgments are based upon their cultural and societal influences and their personal feelings. (DesJardins, 2011)
Ethical Relativism
Ethical relativism simply stated, is that our upbringing and the culture we are raised in influences how we make a judgment with regards to what we deem to label with the titles right and wrong.
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Which action is taken will largely depend upon whether it is believed that the outcome will be beneficial to the greatest number of individuals, such as Utilitarianism suggests; or whether the outcome is appropriate based on the duties one has to those around them as is suggested by Deontology, or in the case of Virtue Ethics, is it not necessarily about the rules and principles of what should be done, but rather what one wants to become?

Utilitarianism ethics values living based upon the motto that the end justifies the means, particularly when the ends benefit the majority rather than the minority. One who follows this school of thought will when forced to make a decision that requires them to determine the right or wrong of their actions will follow the belief that their actions must benefit the largest segment of a group in order to be the right decision.

Deontological ethics, in comparison to Utilitarianism, follows the prescription that in order to decide whether something is right or wrong, duty to those around you as well oneself comes first. In the book, An Introduction to Business Ethics, the author explains Deontological Ethics by explaining that a follower of this school of thought believes “individuals have rights that should not be sacrificed to produce a net increase in the collective good.” (DesJardins, 2011) An ethical dilemma placed before an individual following this school will make their decision
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