Ethical Egoism and Virtual ethics


Ethics Exam #2

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Question 1: Ethical Egoism

Ethical egoism is an ethical normative position where moral agents are supposed to behave in ways that fulfil their self-interests. It approaches moral questions since it justifies what is considered right and wrong by an individual (Thames, 2018). Whatever fulfills the self-interest of an individual is considered morally accepted. It argues that the consequences of the actions that are beneficial to the door are ethical.

According to ethical egoism, the death penalty is not morally acceptable since its impacts do not serve the best interest of a person since when one is hanged; he ends up losing his own life which never impresses him. An individual who is committing any crime is doing so due to self-interest. Egoism does not allow for the death penalty but instead approves life imprisonment as an alternative. The question that egoists may ask include, how will the death penalty serve my self-interests? The aspect of the situation (is the death penalty morally permissible?) that they see as important are the benefits that an individual can gain from the moral situation (Thames, 2018). Their response will be based on the benefits that they can derive from the situation where they only consider what benefits them as morally acceptable.

Question 2: Virtual ethics

Virtue ethics refers to an ethical approach that puts efforts on the characters of an individual as key features of ethical thinking as opposed to rules. It is based on a person and not on their actions. It approaches moral question since it is based on the moral character or virtues of the person doing the action (Klabbers, 2017). When analyzing a moral problem, virtue ethics considers how honest and ethical an individual is. It shows that doing what is considered a good habit such as honesty and generosity makes an individual virtuous and moral. It helps in guiding an individual in absence of set rules which help in resolving ethical problems.

According to virtue ethics, it is not morally acceptable to use the death penalty since it does not solve an ethical problem committed by an individual by guiding him or her but rather terminates it without giving room for change. Taking somebody’s life is not considered moral by virtue ethics. It shows that being morally ethical is virtue-based Klabbers, 2017). The question that virtue ethicists may ask include, “How am I supposed to be acting to avoid being convicted by hunger or what actions should be done to get rid of death penalty?” The aspect of the situation that they consider important is removing the death penalty since according to virtue ethics, it is not morally viable.

Question 3: Deontology Part One- Kants Formula of Universal Law

Kants formulation of universal law is based on the categorical imperative which constitutes the formula of the universal law (Connolly, 2018). It An act that is according to the maxim by which one can at any time makes it become a universal is a rule of conduct that is absolute and unconditional universally and its validity and claim do not rely on any given desires. In analyzing moral problems, it considers universality that we should consider behavioral rules and apply them universally.

According to Kant’s formula of universal law, the death penalty is not morally considered it is not fairly done (Connolly, 2018). He concludes that when something can never be done fairly, such an act should never be done at all. The death penalty is therefore morally unacceptable and should never be used.

Question 4: Deontology Part One: Kants Formula of Humanity

The formulation of humanity forms the second part of the categorical imperative and shows that human beings should not just treat others as a means to a given end but specifically as ends in their rights. It is deontological in the sense that morality is not relying on the consequences that they bring forth but whether they are fulfilling moral duties. He believed categorical imperative was the supreme moral principle (Dan-Cohen, 2018). Kant is exemplifying retributivism based on the death penalty which shows that murderers must die for the offenses they make. The consequence that links death penalty and the committed crimes remain irrelevant. Capital punishment is therefore not morally viable according to Kant’s formula of humanity.

Question 5: Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism shows that a right is determined from wrongdoing as focuses on the results. It heavily relies on a consequentialism. According to utilitarianism, an ethically moral choice is that which produces the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. It approaches moral question since it determines actions to either be morally right or wrong based on the effects that they have on the people (Udoudom et al., 2018). The best effects that produce the greatest good for the greatest numbers of people are considered to be morally right. The most important thing to consider when analyzing a moral problem is that an action should be morally acceptable when its results benefit and causes happiness to the greatest number of people.

According to utilitarianism, the death penalty is justifiable and ethically acceptable when the punishment extended by murder is promoting general happiness and pleasure to the entire members of the society. When the person killed has been causing havoc to the society, his conviction by death will cause general happiness to the entire society, an action which is considered ethically moral based on utilitarianism (Udoudom et al., 2018). Based on the death penalty, a utilitarian can ask “What can happen if a universal rule exists and is condoning capital punishment? Will such rules be able to cause greatest happiness to the greatest numbers of people in a society that is moral?” If capital punishment causes happiness to society, then utilitarianism considers it to be most important.



Thames, B. (2018). How Should One Live? An Introduction to Ethics and Moral Reasoning.

Klabbers, J. (2017). Doing justice? Bureaucracy, the rule of law, and virtue ethics.Rivista di filosofia del diritto,6(1), 27-50.

Connolly, W. E. (2018). The will, capital punishment, and cultural war. InCultural Studies and Political Theory(pp. 23-41). Cornell University Press.

Dan-Cohen, M. (2018). On the (Im) morality of the Death Penalty.Berkeley J. Crim. L.,23, 194. =

Udoudom, M. D., Idagu, U. A., & Nwoye, L. (2018). Kantian and Utilitarian Ethics on Capital Punishment.Journal of Sustainable Society,7(1), 5-11.


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