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Define ethical theories

The rules and principles that determine right and wrong for any given situation

"Whole idea of rationalizing morality, we are trying to make sense of morals"


What are the two extreme positions of ethical theories?

Ethical absolutism:
- there are eternal, universal, applicable moral principles, applied everywhere, are universal and absolute (objective)
Ethical relativism:
- context dependent , depends on the person making the decision (what is right for someone mig be wrong for someone else) (subjective) it is relative.


What is the normative ethical theory?

The ideal scenario and behavior of businesses when it comes to ethical behavior.
"The morally correct way of acting"


What is the descriptive ethical theory?

The way business ethical decisions are actually made.


What are the two main types of normative ethical behavior?

1. consequentialist:
- the emphasis is on the outcome, and the outcome only of an action. Based on the outcome, we may decide if it is right or wrong ethical behavior.

2. non-consequentialist:
- may base is on the principles and how to apply the principles. Not the outcome, but hero they went about it.


What are the two main types of consequentialist ethical theories?

1. Egoism:
- focuses only on the person making the decision
- "all about me" based on self-interests
- if it benefits me , it is the right decision and vice versa
- rooted in Adam smiths work, justifying looking inwards in the idea that humans have limited insights into the consequences of our actions. We don't see beyond ourselves, "invisible hand"

2. Utilitarianism:
- we look at all the options available to us and we decide at what option will amount to the greatest good, will be the right ethical decisions and we discard all the other options.
- It is morally right if the net benefits exceeds the total net of any other action.
- "greatest happiness principle"


What are the main challenges of utilitarianism?

1. Subjectivity: subjective in terms of classifying each consequence of an action as pleasure or pain
2. Problems of quantification: difficult to assess cost and benefit to each situation and quantifying the levels of pleasure and pain
3. Distribution of utility: the interest of the minority neglected


What are the two types of utilitarianism?

1. Act utilitarianism:
- looks to one action and bases the moral judgement on the amount of pleasure and the amount of pain the single action causes

2. Rule utilitarianism:
- looks at classes of action and looks at whether the underlying principles of an action produce more pleasure than pain


What are the non- consequentialist ethical theories?

1. ethics of duties
2. Ethics of rights and justice

Both theories are similar and emanate from based on the assumptions of universal principles of right and wrong


What is the non-consequentialist theory, ethics of duty?

- black and white
- based on right and wrong
- an action cannot be justified to be producing good results
- underlying principle, based on the motivation driving the action, context does not matter.
- Emmanuel Kant 1724-1804
- humans are independent moral actors
- human is a rational being


What are the three key principles of ethics of duty?

1. Consistency:
- be consistent with the set of rules behind ethics of duty
2. Human dignity:
- humans are rational beings
3. Universality
- the rules of actions should be universal and accepted by everyone (the New York Times test: would you be happy for one of these to report you behavior? If you are then right decision)


What are the issues with ethics of duties?

1. Undervaluing outcomes:
- less consideration of the outcome of ones action
2. Complexity
- even though theory itself is fairly simple, what goes behind it can be complex.
3. Misplaced optimism: based on the premise that humans are rational beings. It is more idealistic than reality.


What is the non-consequentialist theory ethics of rights and justice?

1. Rights:
- a persons just claims and entitlement
- places focus on the persons actions or the actions of other towards the person
- two types: legal and moral rights

2. Justice:
- all about fairness, treating everyone equally by the same rules
- an injustice is acceptable is others benefits from that injustice is rejected


What is the most important rule in ethics of rights and justice?

- un global pact and the Reggie principles : talk about human universal rights


What is John Rawls theory of justice?

- each human being is to have the most extensive total system of basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all

- economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:
1. To the greatest benefit of the least advantaged
2. Attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality and opportunity


What are the alternative perspective on ethical theory?

1. Virtue ethics:
- correct actions are made by those with the right virtues or characters

2. Feminist ethics:
- looks at ethics within relationships, with society with some empathy to it (ethics of care)
- relationships, responsibility and experience.

3. Disclosure ethics:
- aims to solve ethical conflicts by providing a process of norm generation through rational reflection on real-life experiences. Use experiences in rational way to come out with right ethics decision to resolve conflict.

3. Post modern ethics:
- questions the link between rationality and morality
- there is no need for rules when making decisions on ethics
- we can't ratios lose morality, as that is how we get ethics. You make decisions base on moral impulse
- holistic approach
- think local act local


What is the typical perspective?

Crane and Matten, 2016
- ethical dilemma through lens of ethical Theory
1 single normative consideration for solving the ethical dilemma


What is the pluralistic perspective ?

- ethical dilemma
- prism of ethical theories
- variety of normative considerations in solving the ethical dilemma