Deontological vs. Teleological Ethical Systems

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Deontological moral systems are characterized by a focus upon adherence to independent moral rules or duties. To make the correct moral choices, we have to understand what our moral duties are and what correct rules exist to regulate those duties. When we follow our duty, we are behaving morally. When we fail to follow our duty, we are behaving immorally. Typically in any deontological system, our duties, rules, and obligations are determined by God. Being moral is thus a matter of obeying God. Deontological moral systems typically stress the reasons why certain actions are performed. Simply following the correct moral rules is often not sufficient; instead, we have to have the correct motivations. This might allow a person to not be considered immoral even though they have broken a moral rule, but only so long as they were motivated to adhere to some correct moral duty. Nevertheless, a correct motivation alone is never a justification for an action in a deontological moral system and cannot be used as a basis for describing an action as morally correct. It is also not enough to simply believe that something is the correct duty to follow.

The Teleological ethical system is the opposite of the deontological system. The teleological ethical system judges the consequences of the act rather than the act itself. It believes that if the action results in what can be considered as a good consequence, than it must be good and that the end result will justify the reason that the act was committed in the first place (Pollock, 2004). Among the teleological ethical systems are utilitarianism, ethics of virtue, and ethics of care.

Utilitarianism is the view that "what is good is determined by the consequences of the action". If it can be shown that an action benefits the greater amount, than it is good because it outweighs the small amount of harm that the action has caused (Pollock, 2004). There are seven major ethical systems that make up Deontological and...
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