Act-utilitarianism showcases its help in society as it is objective. The philosophy posits a particular distinct answer to every moral issue without eliciting moral dilemmas (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). As such, it utilizes a form of scientific approach when dealing with ethical problems. Furthermore, act-utilitarianism is impartial. The philosophy judges a situation based on the best possible outcome one could hope for without distinguishing between individuals (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). However, utilitarianism provides a blanket cover for people and fails to recognize individual rights, acknowledging and endorsing injustice acts (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). The approach sometimes leads to people suffering as a result of immediate consequences of acts performed to maintain utility.
Virtue ethics helps in societal growth as it seeks to instill overall good behavior rather than focusing efforts on punishing bad actions. It centers its tenets on individuals and their perception of human beings that aim to live virtuously (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). The philosophy also refrains from judging people based on one action, focusing on their life to determine if they are virtuous (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). However, virtue ethics fails to provide distinct guidance on actions to take in moral dilemmas (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). Additionally, its ambiguous nature does not offer agreed virtues that individuals should adopt, leading to the assumption that virtues may be culturally based.
I believe that virtue ethics is a better theory as it advocates for good behavior throughout an individual’s life. The society also considers a person’s character to judge their actions, an issue that would prompt its members to assume good behavior to develop a positive relationship and better standing in society. Act-utilitarianism endorses activities that may be seen as criminal if they lead to the best outcome (Dimmock & Fisher, 2017). An individual may follow this tenet but cannot discern if their actions promote the greatest utility until they see the results. There is an element of gambling when it comes to this form of utility.
Nonetheless, combining virtue ethics and act-utility would promote rational decision-making when individuals are faced with moral dilemmas. Using tenets of act-utilitarianism, the person would determine the best course of action to elicit the best results. Integrating virtue ethics would allow them to seek the method that is virtuous and leads to the least harm for the parties involved. In this way, merging the theories would elicit a better philosophy that is decisive and ethical.
Dimmock, M., & Fisher, A. (2017). Ethics for A-Level. Open Book Publishers.