We really need to understand how ethical reasoning happens. Teleological reasoning is basically utilitarian promoted by Jeremy Bentham. His philosophy was that if your actions benefit more than they hurt, then the action is justified. We see this in Eminent Domain cases quite often. Building a road through the farmers field benefits a lot of commuters, and only hurts the farmer. Deontological reasoning is basically the “golden rule” do unto others what you want done to you. It is promoted by Immanuel Kant. His philosophy relies on what he calls the Categorical imperative. Basically he is saying that if you don’t want it to happen to you, you can’t do it to anyone else. The classic example is there are 5 people in a boat that is sinking. In order to survive, one person must get out of the boat. But according to Kant, because nobody would want to die, you can’t expect anyone to get out. The third reasoning style is Virtue theory. It is basically, do what would make you virtuous. Promoted by Artistotle, he says that all your actions should be done so that anyone who looks at your actions would consider you a virtuous person and one who does the “right” thing. Obviously, this leaves many actions open to interpretation. The last reasoning type is intuition. Intuition is basically a gut feeling. What does your gut tell you about the situation? Obviously, this is the least consistent of the reasoning methods.
Here is the discussion question- If ethical reasoning is defined as “systematically thinking about ethics”. Do you think that you can combine these reasoning methods to be equally applied to every person that walks through your door? Or do you think that our own biases and lifelong values override our reasoning methods?