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Free «Utilitarian Ethics and Situational Ethics» Essay Sample

The several schools of thought in ethics bring forth different interpretations analyzing how difficult decisions could be made and effectively leave the participating stakeholders well satisfied. Some of these schools of include Utilitarian and Situational Ethics. The former holds that "The greatest good should be done for the benefit of the greatest number" whereas the later states that love should best be served at all times, even in if it means overlooking key ethical principles. The main difference between these schools of thought is therefore on the 'loosing' side when making an ethical decision. In utilitarian, it is the number that counts; it takes the approach of democracy where majority rules. In situational ethics, love rules in consideration that ethical principles cannot be applied in all circumstances. The decision in situational ethics strictly depends on the issue at hand, not the ethical considerations that need to be considered.

A good example to well bring out the above difference is a story of naughty three college boys who destroy school property to the point of being taken into police custody. One of the boys could be from a well-to-do family and the others from poverty stricken ones. Now assume that the boys be sentenced to three-month jail terms or an individual fine of USD $5000. In accordance to utilitarian ethics, parents from the three homes would decide that the boys be jailed for three months so they could all learn the bitter lesson together. In addition, fellow boys in college and within respective communities would indeed learn the importance of respecting private property and the repercussions of malicious damage of the same. In reality, however, it is most probable that the poor ones will end up in jail, whereas the rich kid would be bailed out. These parents made that decision using situational ethics because the love for their son was stronger than desire to have that kid learn some vital lessons with his peers.


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