Deontological and Teleological Ethical Theory

Topics: Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Deontological ethics Pages: 5 (1667 words) Published: December 26, 2012
Teleological Ethics = Consequentialist Ethics
Morality of an act is based on the outcome or consequence of the act Deontological Ethics = Non - Consequentialist Ethics
Morality of an act is based in the act itself.
Types of Teleological Ethics
1. Utilitarianism – Utilitarian moral theory is classical utilitarianism, 2. Varieties of ancient Greek virtue ethics – Aristotle Ethics is an Example a. The goal of ethics is to explain how one achieves the good life for human beings. There are only two basic kinds of prescriptive moral theories: teleological theories, deontological theories TELEOLOGICAL ETHICAL THEORIES

Teleological moral theories locate moral goodness in the consequences of our behavior and not the behavior itself. According to teleological (or consequentialist) moral theory, all rational human actions are teleological in the sense that we reason about the means of achieving certain ends. Moral behavior, therefore, is goal-directed. So from the teleological point of view, human behavior is neither right nor wrong in and of itself. What matters is what might happen as a consequence of those actions in any given context. Thus, it is the contextualized consequences that make our behavior, good or bad, right or wrong. Many moral theorists would argue that morality requires an analysis of my motives (or intent) that brought about that behavior. However, from a teleological perspective, motives really have nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of the act. What really matters lies in the potential pains and pleasures associated with the short-term and long-term consequences. HEDONISM

Teleological moral theories must somehow connect the consequences of human behavior to the foundational moral concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, and moral and immoral. The hallmark of most teleological moral theories is that they identify these moral concepts with pleasure and pain, or happiness and unhappiness. Hence, moral acts are considered good, right, and/or moral in so far as they lead to pleasurable consequences; and bad, wrong, or immoral if they lead to painful consequences. This longstanding moral doctrine is called hedonism. Now once we accept the hedonist doctrine that the good=pleasure and bad=pain, we find ourselves faced with a number of interesting philosophical dilemmas. If there is a compelling reason to accept hedonism, it is the fact that all human beings have the ability to differentiate between pain and pleasure. When we experience pleasure or pain, we are immediately aware of that fact. We are also immediately aware of the fact that pain and pleasure are subject to greater or lesser degrees. In general, we universally seek pleasure, and avoid pain. In sum, teleological theories generally require that we anticipate how pleasure and pain (or, happiness or unhappiness) will be redirected as a consequence of our actions. Therefore, teleologists, are usually hedonists who believe that all morally good acts promote pleasure and that all morally bad acts promote pain. Health is the end of medicine

Vessel (Purpose) of ship building
Victory (goal) of strategy
There are many philosophers who reject the entire teleological agenda , by arguing that moral goodness has nothing to do with generating pleasure, happiness, and or consequences. Deontological theories are by definition duty based. That is to say, that morality, according to deontologists, consists in the fulfillment of moral obligations, or duties. Duties, in the deontological tradition, are most often associated with obeying absolute moral rules. Hence, human beings are morally required to do (or not to do) certain acts in order to uphold a rule or law. The rightness or wrongness of a moral rule is determined independent of its consequences or how happiness or pleasure is distributed as a result of abiding by that rule, or not abiding by it.

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