Military Ethics

1686 Words Nov 16th, 2014 7 Pages
Military Ethics
PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Prof Whitney Easton
10 March, 2014

Military Ethics

This paper will discuss the topic of military ethics using the utilitarian theory. It will also incorporate the ethical system of virtue ethics. “Military ethics is about our learning what is good and true and then having the courage to do and be what and who we ought to. For military ethics is not about his or her successes or failures; it is not about their virtues or vices. Military ethics is about our heritage and history, and it is about our responsibility to be men and women of character.” (Toner, 2003) Strong military ethics are vital to maintaining disciplined service members, to providing a clear moral compass to follow
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Utilitarianism is also known to be a consequentialist theory. Military ethics are very in line with this kind of theory and logical thinking. The military expects its members to not only respect themselves but to also respect others, not just those with whom they serve, but to the civilian population as well. Military service members, who decide to not follow the ethics, are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and their actions can be punished by law under the UCMJ. This is where virtue ethics could easily be associated with military ethics, in a sense that virtue ethics focuses mostly on the persons character, if an individual in the military is lacking the right set of characteristics to maintain professionalism, integrity and moral courage, then their actions will be judged and tried in accordance with the military justice system. Granted, the military justice system is focusing on the act of which the service member did, but if they also focus on the behaviors of the individual and know their character, then they can come to a more informed decision, rather than making a decision based solely off of the action and not the individuals character.
Additionally, within the virtue ethics there are some virtues that philosopher Aristotle described as being a bit more complex. Those virtues are temperance and magnanimity. Both of these virtues could be correlated to…