The Principles Of Decent Human Behaviour Essay

1624 Words Mar 20th, 2016 null Page
From Socrates to W.D. Ross, ethics are, in essence, the system of fundamental principles of decent human behaviour, which has been theorised, criticised and debated about in civil society for centuries. Ethics is the basis for sufficient moral judgement of an individual to pursue righteous actions that maintain the integrity, well-being and happiness of oneself and others. Act utilitarianism promotes universal hedonism, impartiality and judges the utility of deeds through the calculation of pleasure and pain. Virtue ethics accentuates that proper habituation leads to good ethical and practical reasoning and that virtues are the guidelines to human flourishing and a nurturing society. Ethical theories should consider the entire disposition of a human and the values that exercise the most effective action.

Act utilitarianism is a teleological subdivision of ethics that actively seeks goodness for the greater good. The supposition derives from Jeremy Bentham, as a means of equating a morally right action from a morally bad one. Bentham (cited in Oliphant, 2007) states, “nature has placed us under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.” Bentham’s approach promulgates the maximisation of pleasure and minimization of pain; when the positive outcomes of an action outweigh the positive outcomes of a divergent pathway, the action is considered ‘good’. Act utilitarianism, therefore, is a hedonistic theory that is founded on the principle of utility – a practice…

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