Cheating is defined in the dictionary as, to deceive by trickery; swindle, however the dictionary fails to tell you if it is right or wrong to cheat. People have many different beliefs when it comes to cheating; some think its fine to do while others completely disapprove. I intend to show the different beliefs, from different perspectives of people, and also intend on proving which beliefs have the strongest and weakest arguments.
An ethical egoist could argue that we have an obligation to cheat. Ethical egoists maintain the belief that we should act selfishly.
We should do things that we believe in our self-interest, which is our own genuine interest. Egoist would cheat to benefit themselves, they believe that their own interest receives much more weight than everyone else’s interest. Egoist realize that we are solely responsible for their own lives, therefore if cheating would benefit their lives then cheating is acceptable. If we did not cheat it would bring possible misfortune to our lives.
However, it could also be argued by ethical egoist that we do not have an obligation to cheat. Egoist would agree that morality is about overcoming our selfishness and living our life with positive concern for the well being of others.
Cheating is not looking at the well being of others, but rather doing the complete opposite. Unless everyone in the country had the answers to the test, then it would be considered good to cheat. Ethical egoist also like to think of themselves as good people, therefore they would want others to regard them in the same way. A cheater would not be regarded as a good person but rather, a bad person and a liar.
A utilitarian would probably agree with cheating. Utilitarianism believes that morals are based on the happiness or misery of people.
If a person cheated and got an A on the test, they would obviously be happy. Utilitarians also have the tendency to look at the short-term affects of a situation. For example, cheating would result in an A, however the broad perspective is that nothing would be learned, or if they were to get caught cheating they would fail, therefore in actuality they are not benefiting at all.
Deontology on the other hand would argue that you should not cheat. Deontology assumes that we all have clear sets of duties that we ought to obey, these are given to us from God or our own reason. Therefore cheating is obviously wrong, so you ought not to cheat.
Deontology believes that you have a set of duties that you follow. In deontological ethics, an action is considered morally good because of some characteristic of the action itself, not because the result of the action is good.
Of the three approaches to ethics that are mentioned above I think that the egoists support of cheating makes the best argument. Although, I personally do not believe in cheating I do think that egoist do justify the act of cheating. Egoists feel that we should put our selves before all others and that we should do what makes us happy. They feel that whatever will benefit us most will in turn make us happier.
I think the comparison of the strongest argument brings out the weaknesses in the other two arguments. I feel that utilitarianism does not have as strong of an argument for cheating, because they do not look at the entire situation and also they are interested in the happiness of themselves, cheating is not necessarily always going to make you happy. I believe that deontology has the weakest argument, they live by what you “ought” to do. They base all their decisions on God or morals that they were taught, they do not think on their own; they are told of their duties. It seems to me that deontology is almost robotic in a sense. These two arguments seem to concrete for people to actually maintain.
I do not believe that any of the approaches to ethics would say that you had an obligation to cheat, but rather they explain their reasoning for why it would be acceptable to cheat. All three of these approaches .