Applying Normative Theories to a Moral Situation

Normative Theories

Normative theories are moral perspectives that assist us in understanding what is right and wrong. Utilitarianism, the categorical imperative, Aristotelian virtue ethics, Stoic virtue ethics, and W. D Ross' intuitionism are the five theories. The paper will primarily focus on two theories: Aristotelian virtue ethics and utilitarianism. Furthermore, the article will be applied to the instance of Doctor John Smith, a psychiatrist who follows a strict confidentiality policy with parents who abuse their children. Furthermore, the essay will expand on the two-moral ethics given in Dr. Smith's practice. Normative theories are the greatest gift which any philosopher should consider while studying. In a moral view of human deeds, the theories to some extent debate on the formation of the laws that govern people, fundamental concepts of different institutions, and individual's principles. The normative principles have views on how the issues and ideas should be treated when one has to decide what is moral and ethical.

Shortcomings of Normative Theories

Nonetheless, the two theories have got shortcomings as they are the products of human thoughts and knowledge. So, as a scholar, it is very significant when you are trying to link what is morally and ethical because sometimes your decision may go against the group needs, but it is what moral ethics requires. In fact, most of the issues addressed by the five theories are more applicable to the human careers and daily life decisions. The normative theory tends to focus on how the world ought to be rather than what it is today.

Utilitarian Theory

In the utilitarian theory, the human beings are considered to use common sense and benchmark for the outcome of their actions (Gothelf & Lennox 27). It disagrees with the concept that there are either good or bad issues in life. The consequence of an action is what can be termed as right or wrong basing on moral ethics of the groups of people. Therefore, from the utilitarian view if the impact of an action produces satisfaction fulfilling the consequences, then it is right. On the other hand, if it does not yield a satisfying effect, then it is wrong. Nonetheless, the above-mentioned approach is criticized because the notion of satisfaction is very relative for everyone.

Aristotelian Virtue Ethics

The Aristotelian virtue ethics differs from the utilitarian theory (Gotthelf & Lennox 29). First, the human goal is to be happy, and that is the main aim the person should strive to promote. Secondly, the individuals have to develop the habits and beliefs that make them happy in their entire life. Aristotle suggests that as our actions do not collide with happiness, and then our activities are considered as moral. Additionally, he advocates that happiness is the end product of the successful life (Gotthelf & Lennox 29). The theory of utilitarianism and Aristotelian apply widely in making decisions which are firm and will presuppose going against the majority personal wants. However, at the same time, the moral ethics stand for what is right both consciously and societal morals.

Application of Normative Theories in Dr. Smith Case

In Smith’s case, the moral questions that arise are the value of virtues of what is right and wrong. For example, is it fair, and is it justifiable for the doctor not to report to the authorities that his clients are abusing kids? Question two will be whether he is happy and is contented how the clients behave after undergoing therapy? The last issue is whether the society’s moral ethics is in agreement with his actions. All the questions revolve around what is moral and ethical. Moral ethics extends its obligation to the laws that govern humans in the land. (Hursthouse 645). The issues allude to the moral ethics rule of operation which is an individual cannot substitute what has been termed morally "wrong" to be "right".

The Utilitarian View

The possible answers for the confidentiality issue may be analyzed in two moral ethics viewpoints. One is the concept of the utilitarian theory. In the theory, the moral issue is that Dr. Smith helped the clients know their wrong deeds, and he used the common sense to bring the other people for him to receive counseling. The moral ethics of societal values require that if the person or group understands what is wrong, they need to be corrected immediately. Therefore, supporting this point, it is ethical for him to offer good therapy leading to behavior change. As for Aristotelian theory, it is ethical to protect the client’s confidentiality implying the policy that Smith involves his clients. That is, he is the one who can tell what is true about the behavior of the individuals. Dr. Smith believes that whatever he is doing is the right course of action. Additionally, the clients undergoing therapy will remain happy provided that their information is kept confidential and the names not included in reports. It is morally right for the group of individual clients since they form part of the larger society who is willing to change. According to moral ethics, it is impractical to use rules and philosophical arguments to make a personal judgment, so does Smith apply this concept.

The Consequences of Actions

The second moral ethical view is that the consequence of his action is to prevent the further abuse causalities on children. Therefore, Smith did not report the abusers even though he had the information and capacity to report. He does it to encourage the abusing parents to seek therapeutic solutions. Consequently, moral ethics require as doing what you expect to be done unto you if you were in the clients' shoes. The consequences of Smith’s case tend to bring different outcomes, for instance, losing the clients. Besides, if he reports to authorities, it will ruin Smith’s career. In addition, the other result is self-satisfaction and continuous, illegal children’s abuse.

Justifiability of Smith's Confidentiality Policy

Finally, Smith’s confidentiality policy is only justifiable if it is in line with moral ethics. It is reasonable if the clients cease to abuse children, but it provokes immoral and unethical behaviors in our societies. On the contrary, if the protected individuals continue to abuse kids, it the moral ethics will not solve the situation as it is unjustifiable. As a result, everything that is generally accepted and gives a fulfilling result to the humanity is right, whether anything that undermines peaceful co-existence is morally and ethically wrong, and is on contrary to the normative ethical theories (Hursthouse 645).

Works Cited

Gotthelf, Allan, and James G. Lennox. Metaethics, Egoism, and Virtue: Studies in Ayn Rand's Normative Theory. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014.

Hursthouse, Rosalind. Normative Virtue Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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