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Chapter Summary

This chapter briefly discusses three main ethical approaches. They are: deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics. The last one differs fundamentally from the first two. In the field of ethics, a distinction is made between: judgements relating to actions, judgements relating to values and judgements relating to duties imply an evaluation of actions. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), who is the most prominent representative of deontology, strives for a rational ethical theory and rejects the perspective of natural law. The moral significance of an action is, in Kant's opinion, dependent on the sense of duty with which the action is carried out. In the eyes of the proponents of consequentialism, the question of whether an action is morally right can only be judged on the basis of that action. Supporters of virtue ethics are troubled by the lack of humanity that they detect in deontologists and consequentialists.

Keywords: consequentialism; deontology; ethical approaches; humanity; Immanuel Kant; rational ethical theory; virtue ethics



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