What Is a Moral Decision?

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Moral decisions are grounded in an individual’s sense of ethics, which may be defined using approaches such as the utilitarian approach, the rights approach, the justice approach or the virtue approach. Because of the different ways ethics are defined by different people, some decisions are likely to be considered moral by some and immoral by others.

In the utilitarian approach, a moral decision is one that causes the most good for the most people while harming the fewest people. The rights approach defines morality in terms of the rights possessed by human beings, such as the rights to privacy, safety and truth, as well as the right to not be used by other people. Under this more rigid system, a moral decision is one that does not violate the personal rights of any individual.

The justice approach is also known as the fairness approach. A moral decision in the justice approach is one that treats all parties involved equally, with no signs of discrimination or favoritism.

The virtue approach assumes that individuals are constantly striving towards future goals and ideals regarding who they want to be. In the virtue approach, a moral decision is one that is consistent with both who the individual is, who he eventually wants to become and whether this decision is moving him towards those virtues or away from them.