Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Human rights Pages: 4 (1387 words) Published: January 28, 2013
Lauren Formulak
Professor Mrozinski
Human Rights: Consequential or Deontological View? Consequential ethics and deontological ethics (DE) mutually maintain that there is a right action that we morally ought to do. However, these normative ethical theories differ in the derivation of what is valued. In the case of human rights, both accounts are supportive of human rights, but for different reasons. Deontological ethics has as its basic thrust, the concept of a duty to do what is right. For one’s actions to be in accordance with DE, those actions must be realized out of a “notion of right (that) is not derived from a prior notion of good”, as explained by Illies (Illies, 2011, p. 107). A person should choose to perform an act solely because it is the right thing to do, irrespective of the act’s outcome or the consequences thereof. According to Illies transcendental argument, human beings have, by their nature, the inherent ability to distinguish between, the concepts of good and bad. Humans possess the capability to have an “active pro-attitude” toward good, as well as the freedom to act toward the same (Illies, 2011, p. 108-109). This translates to the concept of moral freedom in that the ability to perform free action toward this good specifically is simply, and unarguably, inherently good. Because of this fact, one should purpose, as it is one’s duty, to promote the moral freedom of another unequivocally, regardless of whose moral freedom one is promoting or as importantly, from a DE viewpoint, what the resulting potential outcome might be. Illies does stress that it is imperative to obtain as much information as possible surrounding the facts as to why a certain peoples’ rights are being suppressed, in order to promote those rights in the most lasting and efficient manner (Illies, 2011, p. 114). When one examines human rights, the concept of personhood is of paramount importance. DE calls for the treatment of...
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