Also known as Kantism, Deontology is the ethical study of duties, rights and obligations focusing on the rightness and wrongness of the actions and not the consequences. It is important to note, though, that Immanuel Kant’s theory did not extend to persons lacking capacity by which he meant children and those with mental impairment or illness (Clark 2000, p.145). Deontology takes many forms some of them are: rights, contactualism, divine command ethics, monistic deontology and duty. (Glossary Of Technical Terms, 2007) * Rights are actions that are morally right which respect all rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. * Contactualism is the theory that actions are morally right if they respect the rules that everyone accept in a social relationship. (Darwell, Deontology, 2003) * Divine command ethics is the theory that actions are morally right when they agree with the rules and duties established by God. * Monistic deontology is the theory that actions are morally right when it coheres with a set of agreed duties and obligations. (Wolf, 1993) .
According to Rachels 1999, A deontologist’s actions are defined by the difference between acts of duty and acts of belief; obligation is what ought to be done as oppose to what we believe we should do. Rationality: humans are capable of rational thought, rational thought is what makes morality possible, therefore, we are able to override our beliefs and preferences. Kant believed the key to all moral judgements with rationality core to his beliefs. Consequentialism
Consequentialism is results-based ethics. Consequentialism Also known as Utilitarianism is based on two principles. The first principle is whether an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act. The second is the better the consequences an act produces the better the act. (Glossary of Technical Terms, 2007) * Consequentialism gives guidance when faced with a moral dilemma. This guidance is; a person should choose the action that maximises good consequences. * It also gives general guidance on how to live. This guidance is; people should live so as to maximise good consequences. (Smith, 1995) Different forms of consequentialism differ over what the good thing is that should be maximised. Two forms of consequentialism are; utilitarianism and hedonism. * Utilitarianism states that people should maximise human welfare or well-being. * Hedonism states that people should maximise human pleasures. (Darwell, 2003) Norman, 1998 believed the most important aspect of living was to be happy, therefore, actions must be assessed in terms of consequence to happiness or wellbeing: * Always act in the way that will directly lead to the greatest happiness/wellbeing for the greatest number. * Follow the rule that offers the best consequences in terms of overall happiness/wellbeing. * It is the outcome rather than the intention that is important. * No differentiation is made between persons or species.
The four moral principles are central to biomedical ethics:
Respect for autonomy
Respect for autonomy is respecting the decision-making capacities of autonomous people; enabling individuals to make reasoned informed consent. (Bartter, 2001) (S. Fry, 2010)
* Respect the capacity of individuals to make informed decisions about their own lives. * Consider decisions in a cultural/religious context but without discrimination in regard to race, religion or sexuality.
Beneficence is the consideration of balance of maximising
* Benefits of treatment against the risk and costs;
* The healthcare professional should act in a way that benefits the patient * Directly or indirectly improving care or best practice. Determining what action is in a patient’s best interest is challenging to health...