Intro To Ethics
The Trolley Problem - Deontology - Consequentialism
In our first class we started to go over both “Deontology” and “Consequentialism”. “Deontology” is a type of moral ethics where the belief is that a person should judge the morality of an action based purely on the rules set in place, without thought of consequences. In terms of the “Trolly Problem”, where you are on a trolly which is about to hit 5 people, and you have the opportunity to pull a switch to move the trolly onto another track where it would only hit one person, the question is, would you pull the switch? Deontologists believe that that it is morally wrong to intentionally kill a person, so by pulling the switch you would intentionally kill that one person. But by not pulling the switch, you are not “intentionally” killing the 5 people. You should not think of the consequences, you need only think if the action is morally right or wrong, based upon the rules that are set in place.
In contrast, “Consequentialism” is a type of moral ethics where the belief is that a person should judge the morality of an action based purely on the good it will cause. Concerning the “Trolly Problem”, a consequentialist would pull the switch because it would save 5 people, while only killing one person. This would cause the greatest good that could come out of that situation.
If I had to choose between either “Deontology” or “Consequentialism”, I would have to choose “Consequentialism”. I would choose this path for moral ethics because it coincides with my beliefs. While I do not believe in this approach for all things, in this case, the ends do justify the means. Each belief has it’s rights and wrongs, with “Deontology”, following the rules is the end all be all, while in “Consequentialism”, one must choose an action based upon the amount of good that will come out of it.