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The Ethical Theory Of Ethical Pluralism

Decent Essays
With the numerous ethical theories available, it can become difficult and overwhelming to decipher which one offers the best guidance. Some might seem to be too strict while others may not offer enough of a path to follow. W.D. Ross came up with a path that provides a median between some of the popular theories by introducing the concept of prima facia duties within the idea of ethical pluralism, a form of ethics in which there are at least two moral rules. Through explanation of what the prima facia duties are, comparing how Ross’s idea differs from Kantian ethics and utilitarianism, and by exploring some of the benefits of adhering to Ross’s idea, it becomes evident that one should be in favor of his approach to ethics. Ross developed a list of seven prima facia duties. This idea is described in the “Ethical Pluralism” excerpt stating, “A prima facia duty is an excellent, nonabsolute, permanent reason to do (or refrain from) something—to keep one’s word, be grateful for kindnesses, avoid hurting others, and so on” (“Ethical Pluralism” 232). These duties are used to decide the appropriate choice to make in a situation. Ross identifies a final duty. The final duty is what one should do after he or she has taken all of the possible prima facia duties into account. One of Ross’s prima facia duties is a duty to fidelity or keeping one’s promises. An example of the process for deciding on a final duty is: Carol’s cousin is coming into town on Saturday and Carol has promised
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