Deontology

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Session 3. Deontology and virtue ethics 29/1/2014 Virtue ethics: Text for assignment question 1 and session 3 File
Brennan, J. (2012): For-Profit Business as Civic Virtue, Journal of Business Ethics, 106(3): 313-324.
The nature of moral value:
-You see a boat capsizing; somebody shouts for help
-you swim to rescue the person but once you reach the boat the person has already drowned
-Does your action have a moral value?
Actions aren’t everything
-There are important ethical properties which are not associated with positive outcome of actions: intentions, duties, virtues and rights.
Deontology
Immanuel Kant, the father of deontology 1724-1804: groundwork of metaphysics of morals, 1785.
Two ethical approaches: deontology (=moral duties) and intentionalism

Intentionlaism:
“It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it that could be considered good without limitation except a good will.”

Deontology: (Deon=duty)
-Absolute and universal moral duties regardless of consequences
i.e. It is absolutely wrong to kill innocent human beings, to bribe or to tell lies.
Universalism and absolutism:
Universalism: moral principles apply to all people at all times under all circumstances
Absolutism: there is a set of actions that are always morally right regardless of consequences and intentions
While Deontology is universal and absolute, consequentialism is universal but argues that no moral rule is absolute
An absolute moral law, the cornerstone of deontology
Reasoning dictates the universal moral law in the categorical imperative: Act only in accordance with the maxim through which you can at the same time will that it becomes a universal law.
Associated moral principle: “so act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as means.” (child labour could be justified by this principle, in that the child’s condition outside

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