M2- McInnis

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action. Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example. If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.

In chapter two we looked at normative theories of ethics. Utilitarianism is the theory that “we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions” (Shaw, 49). What this means is that the decision you make is for the most happiness of everyone involved. The best (most frequent) example of this is in animals. I went to grab a quick bite to eat at the mini mart down the road from a friends house a few months ago. When I pulled in I noticed two smaller terrier sized puppies running around trying to get the attention of anyone in the parking lot. I got out of my car petting the puppies as I walked inside. When inside I heard the employees of the mini mart saying that the dogs had been there all day and that no one had claimed them or came looking. One employee said that if they got out on the highway and got hit that it was fate and not much they could do about it. So I ordered a few extra chicken strips and went to see if I could catch the puppies, I had called my friend and asked what her opinion was. We both agreed that we couldn’t just leave these two there, so I lured them up to my car with chicken and managed to get both of them in the car. We posted on Facebook that we had found two little dogs and was willing to return them to a owner who was missing them. In the meantime my friend and I both decided to take one, well six months later we are both very pleased with our mini mart puppies. Piper has been such a huge blessing keeping my other small dog active and perky, especially since losing my old lab. Here is Piper doing what she does best, distracting me from homework.

Shaw, William H. Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases, 9th Edition. Cengage Learning, 20160101. VitalBook file.


3 Comments for “M2- McInnis”



I definitely think you brought about happiness for everyone affected by your actions! Not only are you and Piper happy, but the mini mart employees were likely happy the dogs were no longer around, and the drivers happy that they didn’t have obstacles in the road.
Your decision to bring Piper home likely resulted in much more happiness overall than if you had driven her to the local shelter. So, it sounds like not only did your act bring overall happiness to everyone in the short run, but it did in the long run as well.



Animals are great examples of utilitarianism. Most of the time, pets are just there offering love to their owners and never ask questions if everything will be fine. In different studies, animals have also decreased stress, anxiety, and depression in the people working with them and have increased oxytocin levels in those people (Bauer). The oxytocin can then create feelings of happiness (Bauer). So when puppies and other animals show their owners unconditional love, they are also increasing happiness overall by helping increase oxytocin. So by bringing Piper home, Piper and you are both happy and will most likely stay happy as you work with Piper.

Bauer, Amber. “Why Do Pets Make Us Feel Better?”Cancer.Net, 23 Apr. 2015, http://www.cancer.net/blog/2015-04/why-do-pets-make-us-feel-better.



What a wonderful story with such a happy ending! This was defiantly a great example of utilitarianism, you produced the greatest possible good for everyone affected by your decisions. You brought joy to Piper, yourself, the mini mart employees, and etc. with that one action to lure the puppies in. So happy that you and Piper found each other!