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Interpretation of Ethical Systems

You are a manager of a retail store. You are given permission by the owner of the store to hire a fellow classmate to help out. One day you see the classmate take some clothing from the store. When confronted by you, the peer laughs it off and says the owner is insured, no one is hurt, and it was under $100. "Besides," says your acquaintance, "friends stick together, right?" What would you do?

Explain what you would do based on ethical formalism, utilitarianism, religion, and natural law. Address each of these ethical systems in relation to the scenario. (200-350 words)

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Most ethical theorists start from a point which looks at what is being judged or evaluated as good or bad, right or wrong, and they usually look at one of two things -- (1) the inherent nature of the act -- or (2) the consequences of the act. It is intellectually impossible to do both because of what is called the "means-end" problem in philosophy. You probably know the phrases associated with this problem; "the means justifies the end" or "the end justifies the means." It's one or the other, not both (

So, if the person thinks that something is good when a person "means well," "tried their best," or had "good intentions," then she or he believes it's the inherent nature of the act that matters, and her or his philosophical beliefs are classified as a DEONTOLOGICAL ethical system. For deontologists, it doesn't matter if the consequences turn out bad, since all that matters is the principle of the thing ( Examples are ethical formalism, religion and natural law.


On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who thinks goodness, badness, rightness, and wrongness reside in the consequences of action, then your belief systems are classified as a TELEOLOGICAL ethical system. The precedent or example that something sets usually guides teleologists ( An example is utilitarianism. Thus, from a utilitarian view, you would argue that stealing is wrong because it is not in the best interest of ...

Solution Summary

In relation to the scenario,, this solution explains alternative actions based on four perspectives: ethical formalism, utilitarianism, religion, and natural law.