Tag Archives: Ultilitarianism

Lesson 18: Ethical Philosophy


Key Terms for Ethics:

  • Ethics: standards of behaviour the society wants to set; system of principles of what’s right & wrong, coming from moral values/ internal senses
  • Ethical egoism: we should behave in a way that promotes our personal happiness, in the long run.
  • Altruism: we should sacrifice our personal interests for those of others
  • Utilitarianism: maximizing the overall benefit for everyone involved OR the proper course of action is one which maximises the overall “happiness”
  • Moral duty: we do something because we know we should do it/ regardless of the benefit to self
  • mens rea: guilty mind
  • actus rea: guilty actions
  • Kant’s Categorical Imperative: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”


  • Consequentialism / Ultilitarianism
  • Situational Ethics
  • Duty Ethics / Emmanual Kant and the Categorical Imperative
  • Deontology
  • What according to utilitarianism makes an action morally right?
  • What is the difference between utilitarianism and hedonism?
  • What arguments can be used to defend utilitarianism?
  • Why does utilitarianism sometimes recommend actions that go against conventional morality?
  • How do we know what is morally correct?
  • Is knowledge of morals like or unlike other areas of knowledge?

More useful links:

Consequentialist vs. non-consequentialist theories of ethics

Categoricalism vs Consequentialism pdf

Useful ToK terms