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In studying ethics and its theories it is important to understand the definitions of those terms.

Comparing and contrasting these theories is essential to gaining the understanding necessary to navigating through ethics. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, virtue theory is categorized as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach, which emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that which emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Chapter 12 from Basic Ethics defines utilitarianism as a theory that suggests that an action is morally right when that action produces more total utility for the group than any other alternative. Deontological ethics are a

moral theory that emphasizes ones duty to do a particular action just because the action, itself, is inherently right and not through any other sorts of calculationssuch as the consequences of the action as noted in Chapter 13 of Basic Ethics. Similarities and differences are present within all three terms, for example the mostly closely related are virtue theory and deontological ethics. Both emphasize the importance of duty regardless of the consequences of actions. However, in contrasting the two terms, virtue theory discusses virtues and moral character, although deontological ethics is concerned with duty and the action itself being inherently right without any other agenda. Utilitarianism in contrast to virtue theory and deontological ethics is concerned with the actions of the group rather than the individual. Similarly, utilitarianism, deontological ethics, and virtue ethics all emphasize the morality of the actions being right regardless if it applies to groups or individuals. In the end, all terms discuss morals, virtues, and actions. Also, all three terms address ethics because the very definition of ethics refers to the study of standards of conduct and moral judgment of a particular person, religion, group, or profession. Morality is also related to all three terms because it discusses the very foundation of its namesake, morals. I believe that both utilitarianism and deontological ethics apply to my everyday standards of living and apply to my ethical standards. As an individual, I am prone to follow the themes of deontological ethics because I believe in doing whatever it takes to do what is right with no other ulterior motive. Doing what is right mean more to me than the outcome of the actions, especially if those actions are best for myself and those involved. Utilitarianism parallels my ethical standards because as part of a group doing what is right for the group is just as important as doing the right thing as an individual. This description seems to coincide with my personality as

a humanitarian. I always have been concerned with the well-being of others, and the idea that everyone deserves at least the basic form of respect regardless of his or her background. Utilitarianism is also in line with my views about boundaries in the workplace, which is the major group that I am part of daily. Boundaries should be respected in regard to ethical issues in the work environment as well as outside it. For example, friends in the workplace should behave professionally in the workplace and not let the friendship spill over in the professional arena. Following this rule and setting these boundaries could help avoid awkward workplace situations. The same rules apply outside the workplace among friends and in other personal relationships. I believe that utilitarianism and respecting boundaries within the group are closely related.

References: Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Chapters 12 & 13 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy-Virtue Ethics. (2012). Retrieved from