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Ethics: Moral Theories


Several theories are used to come up with a moral compass. One of the theories is referred to as utilitarianism. According to Scarre (2020), the utilitarianism theory focuses on the outcomes of deeds, hence distinguishing right from wrong. In this theory, the most ethical choice is described as producing the greatest good for the most significant number of individuals. The theory of common good comes second. John Rawls coined the standard good theory, and it described several general conditions that could be advantageous to everyone. These are the facilities that the community members provide to fulfil their relational obligation to the rest of the members (Hussain, 2018). The third one is the philosophy of virtue ethics. It surmises that individuals acquire virtues through practice. When practising the virtues, one is considered a moral and virtuous person (Van, 2018). Deontology is the fourth one, and this theory submits that deeds could be either deemed bad or good regarding preset rules (Heinzelmann, 2018).


These theories are applicable in given occurrences to make the right decisions. For example, the theory of common good can be applied where there is a need for an affordable healthcare system that is accessible to all. People need this kind of healthcare system. This means that it would be in the government’s best interest to make it available. The utilitarian theory is applied whenever there is war in a country. If the country faces a threat from an invading nation, military action would be the best option. Although some people may lose their lives, this would prevent it from happening to the general population. For virtue ethics, a law enforcement officer may get an opportunity to kill a violent criminal; this could save more lives, but at the same time, killing would be viewed as wrong. In the case of deontology, taking the example of business practices, a business person should follow the specific rules that govern businesses to determine right or wrong.

My topic of choice from the Markkula centre for applied ethics in the Ethics Spotlight section is ethics and systematic racism. Using the Markkula framework of ethical decision-making, this issue has been presented whereby the law enforcers have killed several black Americans over time. It has shined a light on the systematic nature of racism in America. This is a very damaging situation to the people of the black race in America. Their children are mistreated in most circumstances by white people. The most unfortunate bit of the matter is that they are ill-treated by the people assigned the duty to protect all the citizens by the government.

One of the most recent cases is George Floyd’s case, which resulted in having several incidents that are widely publicized to expose the deep racial fissures in America (Green, n.p). Together with the federal government, some groups can help end the racism menace in America, including the United Nations human rights council. The options available to deal with this issue include; having a US representative nominated to the committee that deals with the elimination of racial discrimination to ensure the review of practices and policies that are longstanding to make sure everyone is treated equally. Another solution is to arrest all officers of the government who are guilty of racism. This is the decision I chose to follow and to be a state official; I ensured the immediate arrest of the police officers who were caught making racist decisions at work. The decision turned out very effective as the cases have significantly reduced. I learned that every evil in society could be effectively stopped if action is taken. In regards to follow-up, I will make sure the arrests will not stop until racism is eliminated.


Heinzelmann, N. (2018). Deontology defended. Synthese195(12), 5197-5216.

Hussain, W. (2018). The common good.

Scarre, G. (2020). Utilitarianism. Routledge.

Van Zyl, L. (2018). Virtue ethics: A contemporary introduction. Routledge.

Green, B. P. Six Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions in Cases of Uncertainty and Risk.


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