Deontological Moral Theory

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Deontological ethics Pages: 4 (1237 words) Published: November 25, 2001
Deontological moral theory is a Non-Consequentialist moral theory. While consequentialists believe the ends always justify the means, deontologists assert that the rightness of an action is not simply dependent on maximizing the good, if that action goes against what is considered moral. It is the inherent nature of the act alone that determines its ethical standing. For example, imagine a situation where there are four critical condition patients in a hospital who each need a different organ in order to survive. Then, a healthy man comes to the doctor's office for a routine check-up. According to consequentialism, not deontology, the doctor should and must sacrifice that one man in order to save for others. Thus, maximizing the good. However, deontological thought contests this way of thinking by contending that it is immoral to kill the innocent despite the fact one would be maximizing the good. Deontologists create concrete distinctions between what is moral right and wrong and use their morals as a guide when making choices. Deontologists generate restrictions against maximizing the good when it interferes with moral standards. Also, since deontologists place a high value on the individual, in some instances it is permissible not to maximize the good when it is detrimental to yourself. For example, one does not need to impoverish oneself to the point of worthlessness simply to satisfy one's moral obligations. Deontology can be looked at as a generally flexible moral theory that allows for self-interpretation but like all others theories studied thus far, there are arguments one can make against its reasoning.

One objection to deontological moral theory is that the theory yields only absolutes and cannot always justify its standpoints. Actions are either classified as right or wrong with no allowance for a gray area. Furthermore, the strict guidelines tend to conflict with commonly accepted actions. For example, lying is always considered morally...
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