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Ethical theories are theories put forward by philosophers to enable people have a moral and philosophical thinking in relation to ethics. Russ Shafer Landau in his book about the fundamentals of ethics has come up with theories of ethics which include the virtue theory, the contractual ethical theory and the prima facie theory. These theories prepare the readers to act ethically and make them morally responsible of their actions.
The contractual theory
The contractual theory is a theory that tries to explain the relationship between the contractor and the client in a contract. This theory basically tries to define the terms and the obligations of the contract and any ethical issues in a contract. Russ explains that this theory provides that people should do what they were expected to do in the contract they signed. On the other hand the client is expected to pay the contractor the entire sum agreed upon in the contract.
This theory is important because it provides a framework for ethical contractual activities. This allows for negotiation between the two parties in a contract hence none of the two parties is oppressed despite the fact that this theory does not provide for the quotations of the contract. Some of the questions this theory tries to address are: What are the terms of the contract? How long should the contract take?
The virtue ethics theory
The virtue ethics theory is a theory that seeks to explain the moral character that leads to ethical behavior. This theory provides that the ethical action ought to be consistent with certain ideal conditions that provide for full development of our humanity. This is a theory that focuses on the virtues like honesty, compassion, tolerance, generosity, fairness, and prudence (Shafer 67). Virtues can be defined as habits enabling us to act according to higher potential of our character and on behalf of morals.
This theory pays a closer attention to the role of cardinal virtues in the development of human character despite the fact that this theory ignores the fact that individuals have different virtues. Some of the questions addressed by this theory include: Is it possible to enhance fairness and equality in the society? Is it possible for businesses to practice honesty in their daily transactions?
The prima facie theory
The prima facie theory is an ethical theory that seeks to explain the rights of an individual in the society. This theory suggests that the ethical suggestion is the one that respects and protects the moral rights of the people. It believes that human beings have dignity and therefore should be treated with respect, the right to know the truth, the right to safety, the right to privacy and the right to make choices.
This theory protects individual rights by making emphasis that human beings should be treated as special beings. Despite this emphasis, it provides a loop hole for unethical practices like killing one person who threats the life of many. Some of the questions addressed by this theory include; was the action carried out justly? Did the executor of the action show some gratitude?
The theory of virtue, prima facie, and contractual theory are most important theories in philosophy. The virtue theory ensures that cardinal virtues are observed in the daily operations. The prima facie theory deals with the administration of justice and observation of human rights. The contractual theory is essential in the signing of a contract since it ensures observation of the terms of contract.