are the rules and principles that
determine RIGHT and WRONG for any situation
Relativism Consequentialist Non –
Utilitarianism Ethics of
Ethical theories are the rules and
principles that determine right and
wrong for any situation
• Absolutism believe that there are absolute
standards to judge moral
• That actions can be classified into absolute
right or wrong, without weighting the
context of the act.
• Moral absolutists believe that morals are
inherent in the laws of the universe, the
nature of humanity.
• They regard actions as inherently moral or immoral
• Absolutism is in contrast with moral relativism
• Relativists believe that moral truths are relative to
social, cultural, historical or personal references, and
to situational ethics, which holds that the morality of
an act depends on the context of the act.
• That different people ought to have different ethical
standards for evaluating acts as right or wrong.
• So, what is deemed right in some societies in some
time periods might be completely wrong in others.
- Consequentiality Ethical Theory is a general
normative theory which evaluate an act solely
based on the goodness of their consequences
- from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right
action is one that produces a good outcome, or
John Stuart Mill
NON - CONSEQUENTIALITY
Non-Consequentialist determines the rightness or
wrongness of an act based on the character of the act
itself rather than the outcomes of the action.
For example, a consequentialist may argue that lying is
wrong because of the negative consequences produced
by lying — though a consequentialist may allow that
certain foreseeable consequences might make lying
acceptable. A deontologist might argue that lying is
always wrong, regardless of any potential "good" that
might come from lying.
NON - CONSEQUENTIALITY
Ethics are DUTIES
RIGHTS and JUSTICE
• Ethical egoism is the normative ethical
position that moral agents ought to do
what is in their self-interest.
• In Egoism, right vs. wrong is defined
based on the consequences to self.
• This theory requires us to choose solely
on the basis of self-interest.
Criticism against EGOISM
• it would lead to illegal and/or unethical behavior.
• one person pursuing self-interest might directly
come in conflict with another person.
• Utilitarianism concerns that the morality of an act
depends solely on its consequence of achieving the
maximum of total or average utility.
• Actions are judged right or wrong according to the
amount of happiness that comes from those decisions.
• Happiness means for the good of all
• Using Utilitarianism, an individual would make decisions
according to which one would provide the greatest good
for the greatest number of people.
Criticism against UTILITARIANISM
1) This theory may force an individual to do
something against his/her own morals.
2) This theory ignored the rights of the minorities.
3) How to quantify which decision is going to give
more pleasure or overall betterment for people ?
4) Conflict between principle and duties.
2 types of Utilitarianism
Act utilitarianism states
that the morally right
action is the one that
is in accordance with a
moral rule whose
general observance would
create the most happiness
Rule utilitarianism states that
moral actions are those which
conform to the rules which
lead to the greatest good,
or that "the rightness or
wrongness of a particular
action is a function of the
correctness of the rule
of which it is an instance
ETHICS are DUTIES(NON-CONSEQUENTIALIST)
• By Immanuel Kant
• Deontological ethics or deontology is an approach to ethics
that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions itself, as
opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of
those actions (the Consequentialist)
• It is described as "duty" or "obligation" based ethics, because
deontologists believe that ethical rules "bind you to your duty".
(a duty-based moral)
• It is argued that some actions are wrong no matter what
consequences follow from them
Eg : lying is wrong no matter what is the consequence.
• Kant argued that an act is moral if
they fit into the concept of
• “Categorical Imperative” mean – a
command or principle that must
be obeyed with no exceptions (no
matter what happens)
• All rational people around the world should follow this particular
law “universalability”. An act becomes immoral and irrational
if it violates the CI.
• Example of Categorical Imperative is the “Ten Commandments”.
Categorical Imperatives must be …
1) A Universal law
“Act only on that maxim through which you can at the
same time will that it should become a universal law."
2) Humanity or End in Itself
"Act in such a way that you always treat humanity,
whether in your own person or in the person of any
other, never simply as a means, but always at the same
time as an end."
Criticism against Kant’s theory
– De George (1999)
When the original itself is immoral, it will be unjust to hold
strongly to the Kantian’s theory
If a slave who escaped from his slaveholder, an untrue statement
told to drive away the slaveholder is not a “lie” in itself because
slavery is immoral, irrespective of what the law of the land might
Under this approach, telling the truth to someone who does not
possess a morally legitimate interest is not only acceptable, it is
not even a lie at all.
Other Problems with
Ethics of Duties
ETHICS OF RIGHTS
AND JUSTICE - John Rawls
• Our interpretation of what is “just” and “fair” are based on
our individual previous experience and knowledge that
prejudice our perceptions.
• Rawls says, to judge whether a situation is just or fair or
not, one have to put himself at the “original position”
(assume no knowledge or “total ignorant”)
• a rational person would adopt a maximin strategy, that is
to consider the worst case scenario that gives the greatest