Righteousness judged by outcome.
An action is right if and only if it produces the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for everyone.
- Consequentialism: The rightness of actions is determined solely by their consequences.
- Hedonism: Pleasure (absence of pain) is ultimately good.
- Maximalism: A right action has the greatest amount of good consequences when bad consequences are taken into account.
- Universalism: Everyone's consequences are considered equally.
- Act-Utilitarianism: An action is right if it produces the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for everyone.
- Rule-Utilitarianism: An action is right if it conforms to a set of rules which are accepted as producing the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for everyone.
Duty to perform certain actions based on their nature, not consequences.
There are things that we ought (not) to do based on a moral law that exists for all rational beings.
- Universalizability: "Act only on maxims that you would be willing to have everyone follow" (categorical imperative). This counters the temptation to make exceptions or double standards for individuals, focusing on "what if everyone did that?".
- Respect for Persons: "Act so that you treat people always as an end and never as a means only," respecting reasoning beings which follow self-devised rules to achieve their ends (autonomy).
Focusing on "What kind of person should I be?" rather than "What actions are right?". Morality based on traits that lead to a good life of "rights".
- Aristotle: a character trait that manifests itself in habitual action (being honest consistently, not once).
- A state of character that is actually practiced, not just known in theory.
- An excellence that is found admirable in a person, a skill worth having for its own sake for everyone.
Traits like benevolence, compassion, courage, courtesy, dependability, honestly, loyalty, and tolerance.
The virtues are not merely means to happiness, but themselves constituents of it. Defending virtues requires determining the character traits that are essential to a good life and giving thought into the idea of a good life itself.
The voluntary assumption of responsibilities that go beyond purely economic and legal responsibilities of business firms.
Business responsibilities (from specific to general):
- Economic: create employment, produce goods and services, and improve efficient operation.
- Legal: Manage corporate assets in the interests of shareholders and compliance with laws and regulations.
- Ethical: Awareness of changing ethical priorities not expressed in the law (environmental conservation, improved customer treatment).
- Societal: Addressing societal challenges through philanthropy and collaboration, assisting with poverty, education and others.
- Operating on an ethical level higher than what the law requires (following high labor standards, setting a strict code of ethics for services).
- Contributing to civic and charitable organizations and nonprofits.
- Providing benefits for employees and improving workplace QoL beyond requirements.
- Taking corporate actions that are less profitable but more socially desirable than alternatives.
- Using corporate resources to address major social problems.
Economic behavior is separate from other types of behavior, even though the individuals involved will be in nonbusiness affairs as well. The primary criteria and goals of business performance are profit, and as such the primary motivating goal should be monetary.