Moral Philosophy





Moral Philosophy


Moral philosophy, also known as ethics, involves defending, systematizing, and concept recommendation of what is right and wrong. This helps address disputes and issues of moral diversity. Philosophical ethics seek to explain the best way for human living, the kind of actions, which are wrong or right depending on the particular circumstances. Utilitarianism theory argues that maximizing of a positive effect is the right course of action in any circumstance. It emphasizes the capability to use personal preferences in order to live. Such preferences include happiness and welfare. Deontology on the other hand, is an approach that determines the rightness or goodness from examination of duties, rules, or acts of the individual and fulfillment. This originates from the beginning without qualification. According to the case study, both utilitarianism and deontology can be used to succeed in the dilemma.


Case Study

The case study focuses on the dilemma of a PhD holder who faces a difficult time in getting a job. Having obtained the doctorate in chemistry, the strain and demands of a young family are all weighed in George’s side. An older George, who happens to be a chemist, promises to get a decent paying job in a laboratory. The job entails research in a biological and chemical warfare work, and this does not appeal to the younger George. He is opposed to the motives of such forms of warfare. The dilemma rests on obtaining a job in order to help him provide for his young family, while assisting his struggling wife. On the other hand working in the laboratory encourages the results of the products used against humanity. He needs to make a decision guided by moral philosophy.


Utilitarianism theory differs from the consequential theory in that the effect that matters is aggregate positives from the action taken. It is based on the collection of more than a single person. A hierarchy of pleasure is instigated and the pursuit of one or more is valued highly according to the results it brings (Mills 14). Act utilitarianism is applied to both divides of alternatives and acts in the choice of situation. The best result is linked to the right act or rather the one that holds the least amount of bad results. In the rule utilitarianism, the promises made before the action taken are considered. It enforces validity on moral principles. The promises become binding as determined by the consequences, which will happen if they are broken in the end. Breaking or following of the rules signifies right or wrong.


Deontology theory by Immanuel Kant argues that in order for individuals to perform acts of morality, they must be in form of duty. He argues that the motives are the determinants of right or wrong choices rather than the consequences, which come after (Tannsjo 9). This follows the directive that the good deeds, decisions and acts originate from the highest and first instance without any qualification. Intrinsic, rather than logic, is used to validate the qualification of good or bad. Examples of the commonly thought good in the society include intelligence, pleasure and perseverance. These fail to be on the category of intrinsic kind or without requiring qualification. Major reinforcement on the theory lies in the conception of good will having the responsibility in all things termed as good in the world.

Action One

In the first course of action, the younger George can use the utilitarianism theory on moral philosophy to succeed in the dilemma. He can take up the job even though he does not support the laboratory efforts in research of chemical and biological warfare. The older George is concerned on the overzealous effort, which will be input by another employee who gets the job instead of the younger George. In addition, the execution of the job will help in providing for his family. According to utilitarianism theory, positive effects of happiness, welfare can be achieved by the younger George if he takes up the job. This is because satisfaction will be obtained in the availability of income and prevision to his family, while helping his struggling wife meets the demands at a relatively easier convenience. At the same time, the laboratory’s efforts will not achieve better since the younger George is not enthusiastic on the job.

            Utilitarianism theory and its application in such a dilemma are efficient since the calculation of consequences and prediction is almost impossible. It is inherently unknowable to calculate such consequences associated with the research of chemical and biological warfare. In such incidents, the utility value on a precise basis cannot be determined as a bad or a good thing (Mills 14). This is because the products achieved from the laboratory use might be for the larger course of national security and defense mechanisms against the external forces and enemies. It also emphasizes the need for him to be absorbed in the job as means of reducing the consequential benefits destined to be gained with proper execution. The younger George does not prefer the issues of chemical and biological warfare and this might serve to work in his favor if he accepts the offer and limits the input.

            The principle of utility in utilitarianism can help solve the dilemma. The principle is precise on the proof achieved from utility. For example, the proof given for visualization of an object is because humans can actually see it. The same case applies to utilization of the other common senses. In the dilemma, the younger George can altogether abandon the job and succeed from it. He can strive to look for alternative jobs at different workplaces and affect his preferences. His dislike on biological and chemical warfare research should be proven. He should analyze the proof of utility of the research products as regards the use in situations of warfare (Mills 14). Since his desire to get employment and provide for his young family, he can enlist his desires and achieve the same goals.

Action Two

The second course of action for the younger George can be utilized from the deontological theories. Since the theory places greater emphasis on the motive according to the individual in the action taken, George can accept the employment opportunity. Kant’s argument states that duty should govern the morality of the action beforehand (Tannsjo 9). This helps determine the right or wrong. He should accept the job and succeed in providing for his family, as it is his duty as the family’s head. The consequence of his will to get income and source of stability cannot be hinged upon the utilities of the research efforts. The biological and chemical warfare is beyond his control. The qualification of good or bad rests on his goodwill to provide for his wife and children.  

            According to the significance of Kant’s argument in the deontological theory, George should act on the maxim, which allows his will to thrive and can become a universal law. With the requirement on his shoulders according to his family’s needs, the younger George should take the employment and avoid the will to neglect research in chemical and biological warfare. This is supported further by the senior chemist George’s concern on the excitement if an alternative utilizes the opportunity. As far as avoiding the goodwill as concerns warfare, neglecting the job opportunity will not harm the factory’s course. The research will be ongoing despite the younger George’s avoidance. Even though he is a holder of doctorate of philosophy in the discipline, alternative replacements can be availed. With the added execution and efficiency, the laboratory will still achieve its targets easily.

            The second formulation guideline of the deontological theory according to Kant enables George to stick with his principles and avoid the employment opportunity. It states that all acts undertaken should be in view of humanity, be it on an individual level or any other (Tannsjo 9). It further enhances the humanity view with the logical perspective of the result. The research on biological and chemical warfare does not offer encouragement on humanity grounds. These are products used in elimination of human life and other life forms in times of disputes, settlement of differences or external interferences. Therefore, the younger George should stick by the principle and will manage to succeed if he channels his efforts in alternative opportunities. In this regard, humanity will be preserved especially with his qualification in the discipline.

            The third significant formulation by Immanuel Kant on the deontological theory states that every rational person should act through a personal maxim like a legislative member of governance according to the ends (Tannsjo 9). In this regard, the younger George should avoid the employment opportunity with the view of stopping its course if the had the power as a legislative member. Through rational thinking, elimination of human lives and live forms from the acts of warfare are not ideal in terms of moral ethics. In the case study, the younger George is categorical of such a profession and all it entails. This should confirm his stand on overlooking the employment in the research factory. With his principles, if he had the absolute legislative power, he would seek to halt the laboratory’s proceedings. He would still succeed in alternative field encompassed with his maxim according to the ends and consequences.


Moral philosophy acts as a guide to issues affecting moral diversities and the decisions taken by individuals or collective. In the case study, the younger George needs to provide for his family while he is struggling to get employment. An older George, who is a chemist, propositions a job at a research factory that deals with biological and chemical warfare. According to moral philosophy, the younger George can succeed in solving the dilemma by using the utilitarianism and deontological theories in avoiding the job or taking the opportunity. Both of the theories enhance the need for analysis of the motive, consequence, goodwill, and concept of good and bad. At the end, he will succeed in solving of the dilemma considering the views of the older George too.

Work Cited:

Mill, John S. Utilitarianism. Luton: Andrews UK, 2011. Print.

Tannsjo, Torbjorn. Understanding Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. Print.

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