Philosophy 167 - 9.1.2 Three Coherent Frameworks for Understanding Morality

A moral theory should make it possible to effectively guide behavior by providing a framework for determining what is morally right and arguments justifying its recommendations. Such a framework must be based on a logical foundation for its principles and provide consistent recommendations. It should, in short, make sense.

This chapter examines three distinct moral framework approaches to normative ethics: consequentialist, deontological, and virtue. Consequentialism looks at an action’s outcome or consequences to determine whether it is morally right. Consequentialists think an action is right when it produces the greatest good (e.g., happiness or general welfare). Deontology focuses on duties or rules to determine the rightness of an action. Deontologists argue that an action is right when it conforms to the correct rule or duty (e.g., it is always wrong to lie). Virtue ethics focuses on character and the development of the right habits or traits. Virtue ethicists argue that right action flows from right character. These three main approaches are distinguished by the criterion (i.e., consequences, duty, or character) used for determining moral conduct.

The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax