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Ethics can be defined as the study of wrong or right in the human life and there are several ethical theories that have been proposed including utilitarianism, deontological and virtue. Virtue theory emphasizes on the role of virtues and character in the moral philosophy rather than accomplishing one’s duties or actions so as to bring about the good consequences. For the utilitarianism theory, the right actions are those which produce the good in an individual. The theory emphasizes that when one does the right actions, there is always the consequences which are prostrated (Oakley & Cocking, 2001).
The similarities between these theories may be viewed as one. The virtue ethics determines the bad or good traits of an individual, and an action determines one’s character traits. For utilitarianism, it holds nearly similar ethic values that entail finding the best in one’s actions. For the deontologists, it emphasizes on the relations between one’s duty and morality. From the three theories, it is clear that an emphasis is put on actions which then determine the good or bad in an individual (Oakley & Cocking, 2001).
There are differences between the three theories. For the virtue theory, ethics is the characters or identity of an individual and not necessarily the actions. For utilitarianism, morality is an outcome of an act that focuses on the consequences. For deontologists, an individual’s ethics hold acts which are morally obliged to the consequences of human actions.
Values are those rules by which an individual makes decisions about a wrong or right, bad or good. For example, there are individuals who are conservative naturally. Morals have social elements to the values with a broad acceptance. People are judged by morals instead of values, for instance, one may be termed as immoral even if they follow their values. Ethics are usually codified in a formal set of laws or system and are followed by a group of individuals.