What Do We Know About Utilitarianism

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  1. How is “good” determined: By what is best for the greatest number of people and by those consequences.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): Jeremy Bentham & Stuart Mill
  3. Major Strengths: Encouraging all human welfare and the end-justifies-the-means.
  4. Major Weaknesses: Finding all the consequences for all in society is complex. When do the end-justifies-the-means for all in society?

Ethical Egoism

  1. How is “good” determined: By Self-interest and what will serve that person and solely that person.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): Epicurus
  3. Major Strengths: Every person ought to carry out in self-interest no matter what the outcome. Encourages individual freedom and responsibility for their actions.
  4. Major Weaknesses: Contradictory to one’s own self-interest when related too all in society. Cannot show a consistent method of dealing with conflicts with others.

Ethics of Care

  1. How is “good” determined: The theory that caring for others and sensitivity to others is important for a moral life.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): Carol Gilligan
  3. Major Strengths: One should carry out with caring and compassion in all actions. A person should constantly consider others and the consequences of their actions towards them early.
  4. Major Weaknesses: May lead others to look at gender as a system to the guide as too who is best and not perfect equality of gender. May only change one incomplete theory with another incomplete theory.


  1. How is “good” determined: Look at what’s good no matter what the consequences are to be positive/negative.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): Immanuel Kant
  3. Major Strengths: Must be logical and not self-contradictory. Must still be effective to create a universal rule for all in society.
  4. Major Weaknesses: Works not to define away exceptions in every situation when competing obligations begin. Establishing what one can create a comprehensive rule for without exceptions.

Prima facie Duties

  1. How is “good” determined: It is a person’s moral obligation to perform various duties in society and they must serve those duties.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): Sir William David Ross
  3. Major Strengths: Determine the act with the highest duties too societal duties. Do the act which has the highest degree for right over wrong.
  4. Major Weaknesses: Difficulty in figuring out what is always the most significant social duty. When does one duty outweigh another duty?

Divine Command Theory

  1. How is “good” determined: Moral principles set down by a higher power or God/Goddess stating what is appropriate/unacceptable.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): St Augustine
  3. Major Strengths: An all-powerful and all-knowing being/beings have set rules/commandments for a man to serve in any situation. By observing those rules/commandments they will have rewards in another life.
  4. Major Weaknesses: Difficulty showing proof there is a supernatural world. Inability to prove those higher powers will reward someone.

Virtue Theory

  1. How is “good” determined: By a human being’s own character as a person.
  2. Most Noted Philosopher (s): Aristotle and Confucius
  3. Major Strengths: An exceptional character will require you to serve honorable accomplishments in life. By doing noble actions one will strive to be an honorable person with a full or accomplished life.
  4. Major Weaknesses: Seeking to verify if an individual does have a goal or purpose to exist. Convincing or not if humans are created with morals implanted or are, they picked up from events in development.

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