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Encyclopedia > Deontological ethics
Ethics
Theoretical

Meta-ethics
Normative · Descriptive
Consequentialism
Deontology
Virtue ethics
Ethics of care
Good and evil · Morality For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... In philosophy, meta-ethics or analytic ethics [1] is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, and ethical statements, attitudes, and judgments. ... Normative ethics is the branch of the philosophical study of ethics concerned with classifying actions as right and wrong, as opposed to descriptive ethics. ... Descriptive ethics, also known as comparative ethics, is the study of peoples beliefs about morality. ... Consequentialism refers to those moral theories which hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The ethics of care movement is a movement in twentieth century normative ethical theory that is largely inspired by the work of psychologist Carol Gilligan. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... -1...

Applied

Bioethics · Medical
Engineering · Environmental
Human rights · Animal rights
Legal · Media
Business · Marketing
Religion · War
Applied ethics takes a theory of ethics, such as utilitarianism, social contract theory, or deontology, and applies its major principles to a particular set of circumstances and practices. ... {{}} Bioethics are the ethics of biological science and medicine. ... Medical ethics is primarily a field of applied ethics, the study of moral values and judgments as they apply to medicine. ... Engineering ethics is the field of ethics describing the obligations of those who are professional engineers to their clients or employers, and their obligations to society as a whole. ... Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers the ethical relationship between human beings and the natural environment. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... For the album by Moby, see Animal Rights (album). ... Legal ethics refers to an ethical code governing those in the practice of law. ... Business ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context, the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting, and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged in commerce. ... Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics which deals with the moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing. ... The doctrine of the just war has its foundations in ancient Greek society and was first developed in the Christian tradition by Augustine in Civitas Dei, The City of God, in reaction to the absolutist pacifist strain of Christian ethics based on the doctrine of Turn the other cheek espoused...

Core issues

Justice · Value
Right · Duty · Virtue
Equality · Freedom · Trust
Free will · Consent · Moral responsibility This article is about the concept of justice. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... In jurisprudence and law, a right is the legal or moral entitlement to do or refrain from doing something or to obtain or refrain from obtaining an action, thing or recognition in civil society. ... Duty is a term loosely appliedDuty to any action (or course of action) whichDutyDuty is regarded as morally incumbent, apart from personal likes and dislikes or any external compulsion. ... Personification of virtue (Greek ἀρετή) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a person. ... Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth. ... Mohandas K. Gandhi - Freedom can be achieved through inner sovereignty. ... For other uses, see Trust. ... Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ... Consent (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification against civil or criminal liability. ... Almanac · Categories · Glossaries · Lists · Overviews · Portals · Questions · Site news · Index Art | Culture | Geography | Health | History | Mathematics | People | Philosophy | Science | Society | Technology Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written by its users in over 200 languages worldwide. ...

Key thinkers

Aristotle · Confucius · Aquinas
Hume · Kant
Bentham · Mill
Kierkegaard · Nietzsche
Hare · Rawls · MacIntyre
Singer · Gilligan Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Confucius (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu), lit. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P.(also Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. ... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... “Kant” redirects here. ... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: or ) (February 15, 1748 O.S. (February 26, 1748 N.S.) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873), British philosopher, political economist civil servant, and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. ... Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (IPA: , but usually Anglicized as ;  ) 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (IPA: ) was a 19th-century German philosopher. ... R.M. Hare Richard Mervyn Hare (March 21, 1919 – January 29, 2002) was an English moral philosopher, who held the post of Whites Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford from 1966 until 1983. ... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre (born January 12, 1929 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology. ... For other persons named Peter Singer, see Peter Singer (disambiguation). ... Carol Gilligan (1936– ) is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work with and against Lawrence Kohlberg on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics. ...

Lists

List of ethics topics
List of ethicists To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... List of ethicists including religious or political figures recognized by those outside their tradition as having made major contributions to ideas about ethics, or raised major controversies by taking strong positions on previously unexplored problems. ...

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Deontological ethics or deontology (Greek: δέον (deon) meaning obligation or duty) is an approach to ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions.[1] It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" based ethics, because deontologists believe that ethical rules "bind you to your duty".[2] In contrast, consequentialist ethical theories, hold that the rightness of an action is determined by its consequences.[3] The term 'deontological' was first used in this way in 1930, in C.D. Broad's book, Five Types of Ethical Theory.[4] Consequentialism refers to those moral theories which hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action. ... Charlie Dunbar Broad (known as C. D. Broad) (30 December 1887 - 11 March 1971) was an English philosopher known for his thorough and objective analysis in works such as Scientific Thought (1930) and Examination of McTaggarts Philosophy (1933). ...

Contents

'Deontological ethics'

When C.D. Broad first used the term 'deontological' in the way that is relevant here, he contrasted the term with 'teleological', where 'teleological' theories are those that are concerned with outcomes or consequences. Broad's principle concern at the time was distinguishing the positions that different ethical theories took on the relationship between values and right action. He wrote: Teleology (telos: end, purpose) is the philosophical study of design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in nature or human creations. ...

'[Theories] which hold that there is some special connexion between [Moral Obligation and Moral Value]....might take the following forms. The concepts of obligation are fundamental and the concepts of value are definable in terms of them. Thus it might be held that the notion of fittingness is fundamental, and that "X is intrinsically good" means that it is fitting for every rational being to desire X. Such theories might be called Deontological. The concepts of value are fundamental, and the concepts of obligation are definable in terms of them. Such theories may be called Teleological. E.g., it might be held that "X is a right action" means that X is likely to produce at least as good consequences as any action open to the agent at the time. (Bold print not in original)[5]

The term 'deontological', thus picked out the set of ethical theories that are based on the idea that an action's being right or wrong is basic, and whether a situation is good or bad depends on whether the action that brought it about was right or wrong. To illustrate, imagine that someone can bring it about that nobody in the world suffers from starvation. However, to do so they would have to act in a way that was morally wrong. Perhaps, they would have to kill everyone currently living on land that could not support agriculture. A deontologist would state that the way that the end to starvation was brought about would mean that the 'world without starvation' was a bad state of affairs.


A teleologist, on Broad's use of the term, explains the rightness of actions in terms of the goodness of the state of affairs that occurs because of that action. If some action genuinely brings about greater good in the world, then it is a right action, and this rightness is independent of the nature of the action or the intentions of the person carrying out the action. Broad points out that on this understanding of the distinction between 'deontological ethics' and 'teleological ethics', not all utilitarians are telelogists:

'Utilitarianism, in some of its forms, would be an example of [teleological ethics]. But Sidgwick, though a Utilitarian, definitely rejects the view that "right" means "conducive to good".'[6]

Deontological theories

The most famous deontological theory of ethics is that of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. However, the Divine Command Theory, also known as theological volunterism, is a form of deontological ethics, and a number of modern philosophers have developed deontological ethical theories.[7] “Kant” redirects here. ... The divine command theory is the metaethical theory that morality (e. ...


The Divine Command Theory

Main article: Divine Command Theory

The 'Divine Command Theory' is actually a cluster of related theories that state that an action is right if God has decreed that it is right.[8] The divine command theory is the metaethical theory that morality (e. ...


Immanuel Kant

Main article: Kantian ethics

In his theory, Kant claimed that an action is morally wrong if it is inconsistent with the status of a person as a free and rational being, and that, conversely, acts that further the status of people as free and rational beings are morally right. Therefore, Kant claimed, we all have a duty to avoid the first type of act and perform the second type of act. Kantianism is the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher born in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia). ...


Kant believed that this duty was absolute. He drew a distinction between contingent duties, which need to be carried out only under certain empirical circumstances, and categorical duties, which always need to be carried out, because they are based on a priori reasoning about the general nature of things, and thus apply no matter what the circumstances are. Kant thought of the duty to promote human freedom and rationality as the only truly categorical duty. He called this duty the categorical imperative, and described it at great length in his writings. Of the five formulations of the categorical imperative Kant developed, the three most well-known and significant are: The terms a priori and a posteriori are used in philosophy to distinguish between two different types of propositional knowledge. ... The categorical imperative is the central philosophical concept of the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and of modern deontological ethics. ...

Immanuel Kant
  • Act only according to that maxim by which you can also will that it would become a universal law.
  • Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.
  • Act as though you were through your maxims a law-making member of a kingdom of ends.

Image File history File links Kant_2. ... Image File history File links Kant_2. ... According to Immanuel Kant, a maxim is a subjective principle or rule, that the will of an individual uses in making a decision. ...

Contemporary deontologists

Contemporary deontolgists include Thomas Nagel and Frances Kamm. Thomas Nagel (born July 4, 1937, in Belgrade, Serbia) is University Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University and member of the Board of Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. ... Frances M. Kamm is a philosopher specialising in normative and applied ethics. ...


Frances Kamm's 'Principle of Permissible Harm' is an effort to derive a deontological constraint which coheres with our considered case judgments while also relying heavily on Kant's Categorical Imperative.[9] The Principle states that one may harm in order to save more if and only if the harm is an effect or an aspect of the greater good itself. This principle is meant to address what Kamm feels are most people's considered case judgments, many of which involve deontological intuitions. For instance, Kamm argues that we believe it would be impermissible to kill one person to harvest his organs in order to save the lives of five others. Yet, we think it is morally permissible to divert a runaway trolley that would otherwise kill five innocent and immobile people onto a side track where one innocent and immobile person will be killed. Kamm believes the Principle of Permissible Harm explains the moral difference between these and other cases, and more importantly expresses a constraint telling us exactly when we may not act to bring about good ends—such as in the organ harvesting case.


In 2007, Kamm published a book that presents new theory that incorporates aspects of her 'Principle of Permissible Harm', the 'Doctrine of Productive Purity'.[10] Like the 'Principle of Permissible Harm', the 'Doctrine of Productive Purity' is an attempt to provide a deontological prescription for determining the circumstances in which people are permitted to act in a way that harms others.


Criticism of deontology

The most pressing difficulty for deontologist philosophers is justifying constraints. Robert Nozick famously points out what has become known as the paradox of deontology. If we are truly concerned about rights (such as the right not to be harmed in certain ways expressed by Kamm's Principle of Permissible Harm) then it seems logical we should seek to minimize violations of these rights. However, deontological constraints themselves prohibit such action. For example, consider a case where someone has maliciously sent a trolley hurtling towards five innocent and immobile people at the end of a track. The only way to stop the trolley and save the five is to throw one innocent bystander in front of the trolley. If the five are killed, this would constitute five violations of the PPH. If the one is thrown in the way, this constitutes one violation of the PPH. However, the Principle of Permissible Harm clearly rules out throwing one in front of the trolley. Hence the paradox. In order to respect the rights of the five, deontologists tell us we must respect the rights of the one. Robert Nozick (November 16, 1938 – January 23, 2002) was an American philosopher and Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. ...

Jeremy Bentham

Many Act or Case utilitarians offer critiques of deontology as well as Rule Utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham, an early utilitarian philosopher, criticized deontology on the grounds that it was essentially a dressed-up version of popular morality, and that the unchanging principles that deontologists attribute to natural law or universal reason are really a matter of subjective opinion. John Stuart Mill, who lived in 19th century Britain, argued that deontologists usually fail to specify which principles should take priority when rights and duties conflict, so that deontology cannot offer complete moral guidance. Jeremy Bentham, British philosopher, 1748-1832 The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... Jeremy Bentham, British philosopher, 1748-1832 The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Rule Utilitarianism. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Act Utilitarianism. ... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: or ) (February 15, 1748 O.S. (February 26, 1748 N.S.) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873), British philosopher, political economist civil servant, and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. ...


Further, Mill argued in the opening pages of his book Utilitarianism that the Categorical Imperative that Kant had formulated to support the duties he had argued as categorical in fact used consequential logic; if the ends of a formulated maxim logically supported the maxim, that is, the maxim if universalized created a theoretical world that could exist and would be beneficial to society, then the maxim could be offered as a rule under which society should live. Mill criticized Kant for avoiding saying what the Imperative reduced to - the ends justify the means, a primary tenet of consequentialism - and thus using it to come to the opposite conclusion.


Shelly Kagan, notes in support of Mill and Bentham that under deontology, individuals are bound by constraints (such as the requirement not to murder), but are also given options (such as the right not to give money to charity, if they do not wish to). His line of attack on deontology is first to show that constraints are invariably immoral, and then to show that options are immoral without constraints. Shelly Kagan is the Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and the former Henry R. Luce Professor of Social Thought and Ethics. ...


Another, unrelated critique of deontological ethics comes from aretaic theories, which often maintain that neither consequences nor duties but "character" should be the focal point of ethical theory. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, for example, sought to describe what characteristics a virtuous person would have, and then argued that people should act in accordance with these characteristics. The aretaic turn is a movement in contemporary moral philosophy and ethics to emphasize character and human excellence or virtue, as opposed to moral rules or consequences. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Olson, Robert G. 1967. 'Deontological Ethics'. In Paul Edwards (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Collier Macmillan: 343.
  2. ^ Waller, Bruce N. 2005. Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Pearson Longman: 23.
  3. ^ Flew, Antony. 1979. 'Consequentialism'. In A Dictionary of Philosophy, (2nd Ed.). New York: St Martins: 73.
  4. ^ Beauchamp, Tom L. 1991. Philosophical Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy, 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw Hill: 171.
  5. ^ Broad, C.D. 1930. Five Types of Ethical Theory. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co: 277-278
  6. ^ Broad, C.D. 1930. Five Types of Ethical Theory. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co: 278
  7. ^ Waller, Bruce N. 2005. Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Pearson Longman: 23.
  8. ^ Wierenga, Edward. 1983. 'A Defensible Divine Command Theory'. Noûs, Vol. 17, No. 3: 387-407.
  9. ^ Kamm, F. M. 1996. Morality, Mortality Vol. II: Rights, Duties, and Status. New York: Oxford Universoty Press.
  10. ^ Kamm, F. M. 2007. 'Chapter 5: Toward the Essence of Nonconsequentialist Constraints on Harming.'. In Intricate Ethics: Rights, Responsibilities, and Permissible Harm, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195189698.

References

  • Kant, Immanuel (1964). Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Harper and Row Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-06-131159-6. 

“Kant” redirects here. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
deontological ethics: Information from Answers.com (883 words)
Deontological ethics holds that at least some acts are morally wrong in themselves (e.g., lying, breaking a promise, punishing the innocent, murder).
It often finds expression in slogans such as “Duty for duty's sake.” Deontological theories are often formulated in such a way that the rightness of an action consists in its conformity to a moral rule or command, such as “Do not bear false witness.” The most important exponent of deontological ethics is Immanuel Kant.
In ethics, deontological ethics or deontology (Greek: Deon meaning obligation or duty) is a theory holding that decisions should be made solely or primarily by considering one's duties and the rights of others.
Field Guide to the Ethical ISMs - Ethics Terms and Terminology - Brief Glossary (3377 words)
Deontological (non-consequentialist) theories – Generally, a normative stance that views what should be done as determined by fundamental principles that do not derive solely or even primarily from consequences.
Feminist theories – Ethics from a feminist perspective places emphasis on "care," and so is sometimes are referred to as "care ethics." It sees itself as a challenge to the dominant (and male-biased) deontological and consequentialist approaches.
Normative ethics – The philosophical attempt to formulate and defend basic moral principles and virtues governing the "moral life"; concerned with what ought to be done.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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