- According to each of the following three theories, explain what makes an action morally good: ethical egoism, utilitarianism, Kantâ€™s means-ends principle. For each, describe a scenario in which the theory could be applied in order to help you make a decision about what to do (or how you could advise a friend) if confronted with a moral dilemma.
Module 3 essay tips:
1) Organize essay by paragraphs (3, 4, or 5 paragraph essay)
3PP: 1PP each to define, discuss & apply, and analyze theory
4PP: 1PP to define and discuss each theory, 3 PPs to apply and analyze each
5PP: 1PP intro (define), 1PP each to discuss & apply, 1PP conclude (analyze)
2) Use topic/transition sentences
– In this essay, I will explain three normative theories of ethics, apply each to evaluate a moral scenario, and analyze their effectiveness in justifying a moral decision.
– Our module materials cover three moral theories: ethical egoism, utilitarianism, and Kantian ethics.
– According to ethical egoism, the right action is the one that promotes the greater balance of good over evil for oneself.
– Utilitarianism tells us to maximize â€œutility.â€ This means that we should aim to bring about the greatest amount of happiness, or the least amount of suffering, for the greatest number.
– Kantâ€™s means-ends principle says that we must always treat humans as valuable in themselves. In other words, we cannot use others as a means to an end that we desire.
– Ultimately, I find that (ethical egoism, utilitarianism, or Kantâ€™s means-ends principle) is most effective at explaining my considered moral judgments.
3) Define and explain each theory
Ethical egoism saysâ€¦This means thatâ€¦ This should not be confused withâ€¦
Utilitarianism is the view thatâ€¦ In other wordsâ€¦.
Kantâ€™s means-ends principle tells usâ€¦ This implies thatâ€¦
4) Discuss each theory by explaining how it can be applied to make a moral judgment in a scenario of your choice (might be good to use a different scenario for each)
A situation I found myself in wasâ€¦.
A friend asked my advice aboutâ€¦
One issue we confront as a society isâ€¦.
(remember the style of reasons for each from the poll question last week)
5) Offer your own thoughts about each of the three theories
Kantâ€™s means-end principle best aligns with my ideas about moral responsibility becauseâ€¦
Ethical egoism is how I most often reason about morality becauseâ€¦.
Utilitarianism is the most plausible theory becauseâ€¦.
Types of reasons from the three theories as applied in the â€œpoIl questionâ€ scenario:
I would want someone to save me/ I couldnâ€™t live with myself if I didnâ€™t/ If I donâ€™t and the child dies, my community would think Iâ€™m a horrible person
Reasons from: ethical egoism
The child has his whole life ahead of him to enjoy and bring positive things to the world/ If I donâ€™t and the child dies, it will be a horrible time for my community/ The world is a better place when people know there are others looking out for them and their children
Reasons from: utilitarianism
I must do it; it is the right thing/ This child is a human being/ Someone must do it
Reasons from: Kantian ethics
(means-ends reasons will focus on the humanity of the individual/not using others/helping others because we have a duty to one another as fellow humans)