Approaches to Ethical Thinking

There are many different levels and approaches to ethical thinking. In the photo accompanying the course, “The Effects of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti,” it depicts a scene of people living happily because they are living harmoniously with the government. When dealing with the different approaches of ethical thinking there is a descriptive approach and a normative approach. In this paper the normative principle will be explained, five normative principle situations relating to the “Greatest-Happiness Principle” will be understood, and a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of “Greatest Happiness Principle” in a mock society.

According to The Ethical Levels of Discourse, the normative principle is a “practical moral choices that are based on beliefs and values, which are often deeply held”. The normative principle plays a role in everyone’s life. Ever since birth each individual is ingrained with a system of values and beliefs based upon their upbringing and environment. The normative principle can take form in a general manner. For example, a normative principle might state that, “it is wrong to lie,” but does not go into detail about specific situations. When referring to the normative principle a good way to think about it is metaphorically. For example let’s pretend a person, named Mike is standing in front of a “gateway” only armed with his morals, he decides that no matter what’s on the other side he knows that he believes in only telling the truth. A person tells him, “take this document, lie and say your name is Sam, and a lot of cash will be sent to your home.” Even though Mike knows he needs money to

buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend, he will decline because it goes against his normative principles. Which leads to the next point; how the normative principle relates to the “Greater-Happiness Principles”.

The “Greatest-Happiness Principle” according to Nina Rosenstand this principle is defined as “choosing a course of action...