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Sample Essay on the Application of Ethical Theories on a Public Film

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Sample Essay on the Application of Ethical Theories on a Public Film

Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World

            Sweet misery is a public film that highlights the dangers of taking products with artificial sweeteners. The commonly used sweetener among many corporations is aspartame, a product that has caused many health hazards and even deaths around the world. Cola and Pepsi are some of the big corporations that use the product to make diet drinks. The author hopes to enlighten people about the dangers of aspartame by narrating the stories of people who have had a health problem with the sweetener. Consequently, the author highlights the fraudulent and manipulation activities of corporations, especially in convincing the FDA that the sweetener is safe for use. The message and the questions asked in the documentary are clearly stated. Additionally, the information provided in the documentary is accurate because it is supported by scientific and physical evidence. The author uses simple language and format express to the world about the dangers of using the product.

Egoism Ethical Theory

            Egoism theory advocates for the satisfaction of personal interests either by self or by the rest of the world. In egoism theory, an act is considered right or wrong depending on its ability to serve the interests of the doer. Any act that brings the greatest satisfaction to an individual is considered right. On the other hand, doing something that does not profit the doer in any way is considered wrong (Rodhan, 2008). In the sweet misery documentary, the egoism ethical theory appears in several stances. For instance, the corporations have ignored the negative impacts of the artificial sweetener because it benefits their organization, which is their personal interest (Hinman, 2013). As such, the corporations choose to publish limited information concerning the sweetener to ensure that the fame of the organizations remains concrete. Further, the organizations that make use of the product have collaborated with the FDA to justify the use of aspartame.

Using a different sweetener would hurt the organizations financially. The world has become quite sensitive on healthy eating and the production of diet drinks is one way of convincing the public that organizations have the interest of the public at heart. Therefore, failure to use artificial sweeteners will lead to lost markets and income and that action will be considered wrong according to the egoism ethical theory. On the other hand, the FDA supports the claims of the corporations that the artificial sweetener is safe because the companies help FDA to conduct research on the same. Receiving information from such companies limits the amount of resources that FDA uses to compile a report on the product. The freed resources can be used to further other agendas of the FDA Corporation. As such, the actions of the organization fulfill the interest of the firm hence considered right (Hinman, 2013).

Care Ethics

            The ethics of care argue that an action is considered good or right if it supports the needy and relationship with other people. The theory advocates for Universalism rather than individualism. Any action should be geared to developing relationships between people and supporting the vulnerable people in the society especially children and workers (Donovan & Adams, 2007). FDA is an organization mandated to ensure that food-producing companies do not harm the public with unsafe products. The actions of the company to allow the circulation of aspartame sweetened products to circulate around the world go against the very principle of providing support to the vulnerable population. Additionally, the actions of the food-producing corporations are wrong because they do not support the well-being of the public (Seedhouse, 2009).

Utilitarianism Ethical Theory

            The theory argues that good actions should always provide maximum happiness to the majority of the people. In other words, actions that do not cause pain for the majority of the people are considered right. Consequently, the theory states that a person’s pain can only be measured by comparing it with the feelings of any other person affected by a similar act. The theory accepts that an act cannot be one sided. As such, the doer of the action should focus on minimizing the pain and maximizing happiness for the majority of the people (West, 2004).

            In the documentary, certain issues go against the utilitarianism principles because they do not produce happiness for the majority of the people. According to the statistics presented in the film, over half of the population in the world suffers health issues, knowingly or unknowingly because of the use of aspartame. Therefore, the use of the product by the corporations is unethical and wrong because it produces pain for the majority of the people while benefiting the few business owners. Additionally, the failure of the FDA to stop the corporations from using a product that harms the health of the public is unethical because it brings happiness to a few people. As stated earlier, the pain of a person is as much as that of another person who uses the use product (Riley, 2010). The people presented in the documentary indicate similar disappointments and the effects of the artificial sweetener; therefore, the pain that the product causes around the world outweighs the happiness that it provides to business organization.





Donovan, J. & Adams, C. (2007). The feminist care tradition in animal ethics: a reader. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hinman, L. (2013). Ethics: a pluralistic approach to moral theory. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub Co.

Riley, J. (2010). Mill’s extraordinary utilitarian moral theory. Politics, philosophy & economics, 9 (1), 67-116.

Rodhan, N. (2008). Emotional amoral egoism”: a neurophilosophical theory of human nature and its universal security implications. Wien: Lit.

Seedhouse, D. (2009). Ethics the heart of health care. Chichester, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell Values Exchange.

West, H. (2004). An introduction to Mill’s utilitarian ethics. Cambridge, U.K. New York: Cambridge University Press.


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