I. Utilitarian Approach: Comparing Benefits and Cost
A. The overall amount of good that can be produced by an action or decision
B. Referred to as a cost benefit analysis
C. Benefits need to exceed costs
D. The alternative where the benefits most outweigh the costs is the ethically preferred action because it produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people in society.
E. The drawback to utilitarian reasoning is the difficulty of accurately measuring both cost and benefits.
F. Another weakness, the rights of the majority may outweigh the rights of the minority
G. Utilitarian reasoning is the most widely used in business today, because it works well with financial and economic decisions.
II. Rights Approach: Determining and Protecting Entitlements
A. Human rights are the basis for making ethical judgements.
B. The most basic human rights:
1. rights to life
3. free speech
5. being informed
6. due process
1. among others
C. Denying those rights or failing to protect them for others is normally considered unethical.
D. Using others for your own purposes is unethical if, at the same time, you deny them their goals and purposes.
E. Limitations: Ethical reasoning is the difficulty of balancing human rights.
F. Protection and promotion of human rights is an important ethical benchmark for judging the behavior of individuals and organizations.
III. Justice: Is it Fair?
A. Is the decision or judgement Fair or Justice?
B. Justice/Fairness exists when benefits and burdens are distributed equitably and according to some accepted rule.
C. For society as a whole, social justice means that a society’s income and wealth are distributed among the people in fair proportions. A fair distribution doesn’t necessarily mean an equal distribution.
D. A person using justice reasoning considers who pays the costs and who gets the benefits; if the shares seem fair (according to societies rules), then the action is probably just.