NURS FPX 3200 Assessment 1 Attempt 1 Matrix of Ethical Theories

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NURS FPX 3200 Assessment 1 Attempt 1 Matrix of Ethical Theories

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TheoryDecision CriteriaYour ExampleStrengthsWeaknesses

Utilitarianism promotes the value that any moral decision is thought to be good if it has maximum utility (Savulescu et al., 2020). Thus, it endorses actions, policies, and programs that add maximum utility in the interest of the well-being of humans. Utilitarianism categorizes utility as a value and associates pleasure with goodness and suffering with evil (Savulescu et al., 2020). Utilitarian theories are consequential meaning, inherently no action is right or wrong. Rather actions are instruments that may be useful or less effective.For example, if a hospital has a limited number of resources i.e., beds, ventilators, and wards then it finds utility in treating young over older patients with medical histories. Saving younger and comparatively healthier patient optimizes the utility and contribute more to the well-being of society for a longer period.The main strength of utilitarianism is its simplicity. It focuses on maximizing the utility to optimize well in the world. Apart from that, the utility can be calculated through various quantitative methods to find out clearer solutions that no other theory offers (Eggleston, 2019). It is an impartial theory that treats every individual equally by only taking utility into account.Utilitarianism places more importance on the action and mostly ignores the means through which actions are achieved. It seriously ignores individual choices over the greater good of society. If it ignores means and does not consider individual choices then it means, it allows its proponent to lie, deceive and threaten others to increase utility (Eggleston, 2019). Another criticism that utilitarianism mostly faces is dubiousness in the meaning of pleasure and pain. These emotions vary from one culture to another and hard to find any true inherent meaning. 
Kantian Ethics

Kantian Ethics bases its framework on the use of reason that determines how one acts in each situation (Jones, 2020). According to Kantian ethics, the virtue of duty is unqualifiedly good if it is done in goodwill, and it can be applied to all people without any contradiction. The main theme of Kant’s ethical theory is the categorical imperative. It is a rule that obliges everyone to use pure reason not contingent desires to perform duties so that it becomes universal law. The Kantian theory considers humans as ends in themselves, not means. 
NURS FPX 3200 Assessment 1 Attempt 1 Matrix of Ethical Theories
If a medical practitioner performs care duties under unusual circumstances, especially during a pandemic or outbreak of virulent disease then it becomes reasonable to perform duties over one own personal desire. Medical practitioners must perform their duty with a moral obligation to fulfill the needs of their patients as demanded by their profession. If practitioners are doing their duties out of peer pressure or for any other menial obligation, then their actions will not be morally worthy.The main strength of Kantian ethics is its universality. It provides moral laws that hold regardless of any personal, emotional, or cultural discrimination. It is a non-consequential theory; it judges actions based on intrinsic values not based on consequences. It places the greatest respect for human autonomy and dignity. It places little value on emotions and gives maximum importance to rationality. Moreover, it provides the basis for human rights and endorses the virtues of equality, justice, and international law. Kantian ethics places no value on the consequence of actions. Sometimes consequences can become so severe that it becomes necessary to break the rules. It places little value on individual emotions and choices and discourages irrationality. People rarely act out of duty and always consider the consequences of their actions. Kant’s theory is abstract in the sense that it does not categorize the right actions in particular situations.
Ross’s Ethics

Ross’s ethics categorizes prima facie duties, duties that determine what action should one chooses over others. According to Ross, prima facie is an act that has at least one right-making feature. On other hand, a wrong prima facie act is an action when it has at least one wrong-making feature. Prima facie duties are actual duties that people should perform according to situations (Shaver, 2020). There are various prima facia duties, such as fidelity, which is the duty to keep one’s promises. Humans are bound by the reparation they get if they do wrong with fellow humans. And gratitude is a duty to be good toward benefactors. Ross argues that there are several duties that humans need to consider before performing any action. Such as Gratitude, is moral action that benefits everyone. It is very useful for health care practitioners as though they have done their job to the best of their abilities, and it gives them confidence and makes them feel appreciated. When it comes to fidelity patient shares their accounts and medical histories with doctors and nurses and keeping their secrets and confidentiality help patient boost their confidence in healthcare workers. Ross has listed several categories of duties including justice, non-injury, self-improvement and beneficence.Ross has suggested that humans should follow prima facie duties. According to Ross, rightness is a property that can only be known through intuition. For Ross, goodness mean adherence to duties not to consequence. For example, duties originate from our previous actions, like the duty of fidelity, according to Ross, this is our major strength.  Although Ross’s ethics suggests people should follow prima facie duties but fails to take into consideration the inclination of individuals such as love, care, family, and compassion. Secondly, there may arise a conflicting situation between one’s moral duties and obligations. According to Ross, ethical judgments settle downs to decisions about which duties take priority when conflict arises. 
Natural Law Ethics

Natural law theory is an ethical theory that states moral values, rights, and responsibilities inherent to humans bestowed by the nature. It is based on the idea that natural laws are not based on any culture and customs. It is a natural way that is inherently present in human beings since their inception. Natural laws are also beyond any political order or legislation and contrast with positive law.For example, killing a human for no specific reason is considered wrong and is against natural law. It is accepted universally and understood by everyone. Healthcare practitioners take the utmost precautions to save human being at any cost and the field of health care rest on the maxim of saving human life.Natural law ethics are important because today they are applied to moral, political, and ethical systems. It has played role in the history of political and philosophical theory and has been used to understand human nature. The idea of natural law is based on reason, and it allows everyone to follow the principle. It is a clear-cut approach to morality and is universal and always relevant.Although the natural law of ethics is considered clear in its sense sometimes it becomes harder to determine right from wrong. It stresses what ought to be done and not necessarily what is done. The natural law of ethics cannot be verified by empirical scrutiny because it is based on the criterion of right reasoning.  It disregards cultural explanations and is indifferent to human opinion.


Savulescu, J., Persson, I., & Wilkinson, D. (2020, June 11). Utilitarianism and the pandemic. Bioethics, 34(6), 620–632.

NURS FPX 3200 Assessment 1 Attempt 1 Matrix of Ethical Theories

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Eggleston, B. (2020). Consequentialism and respect: Two strategies for justifying act utilitarianism. Utilitas, 32(1), 1-18. doi:10.1017/S0953820819000086

Jones, A. (2020, October). Principlism in medicine – a philosopher’s view. Medicine, 48(10), 637–639.

Phillips, David. Rossian Ethics: W.D. Ross and contemporary moral theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.