Developed by Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre,
Thomas Shanks, S.J., and Michael J. Meyer
Focuses on attitudes, dispositions, or character traits that enable
us to be and to act in ways that develop our human potential.
Examples: honesty, courage, faithfulness, trustworthiness, integrity,
The principle states: "What is ethical is what develops moral virtues
in ourselves and our communities."
Focuses on the consequences that actions or policies have on the
well-being ("utility") of all persons directly or indirectly affected
by the action or policy.
The principle states: "Of any two actions, the most ethical one
will produce the greatest balance of benefits over harms."
Identifies certain interests or activities that our behavior must
respect, especially those areas of our lives that are of such value
to us that they merit protection from others.
Each person has a fundamental right to be respected and treated
as a free and equal rational person capable of making his or her own
This implies other rights (e.g., privacy free consent, freedom of
conscience, etc.) that must be protected if a person is to have the
freedom to direct his or her own life.
The principle states: "An action or policy is morally right only
if those persons affected by the decision are not used merely as instruments
for advancing some goal, but are fully informed and treated only as
they have freely and knowingly consented to be treated."
(or Justice) Approach
Focuses on how fairly or unfairly our actions distribute benefits
and burdens among the members of a group.
Fairness requires consistency in the way people are treated.
The principle states: "Treat people the same unless there are morally
relevant differences between them."
Presents a vision of society as a community whose members are joined
in a shared pursuit of values and goals they hold in common.
The community is comprised of individuals whose own good is inextricably
bound to the good of the whole.
The principle states: "What is ethical is what advances the common
Go back to Decision Making.