"The end justifies the means" - the morally right action is one that gives rise to the best consequences or outcomes. The action taken is justified as long as the consequences are for the greater good, so for example, lying might be okay in some situations if it promotes a much better outcome than the truth.

However, this ethical theory is incomplete. How does one define what the best outcome is? Examples of the different types of consequentialism aims at defining what the best outcome is:-

  • Utilitarianism
  • "The best outcome is one which promotes the most happiness, pleasure, and the absence of pain.
  • Egoism and Altruism
  • "Ethical egoism (selfishness) - choosing the action that is best for oneself. This can have a positive, negative or neutral effect on the welfare of others.
  • "Ethical altruism (selflessness) - choosing the action that benefits other's well-being apart from oneself.
  • Rule consequentialism
  • "Consequentialism at its core in promoting maximum good, but with certain fundamental rules that are seen as being important to follow. However, such rules that are chosen to follow will be based on the consequences that the selected rules will have.

- In some ways, rule consequentialism is essentially what a combination of consequentialism and duty-based ethics is.