The first theory that will be put in practice in this paper is the deontological theory. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) advanced this theory. This theory judges morality by examining what the nature of the actions is and the will of the agents. It does not focus on the goals achieved, hence, it can be termed as input oriented rather than taking an output or outcome approach of the events (Cahn, 70-75). Kant realized that despite our efforts to be perfect, one would always take the blame when things fail to go well with the agents. He further insisted that the future was unpredictable and hence basing the judgment on the morality of an act on its consequence would be unfair (Kay, 1997 p 1).
1. The chief characteristic of deontological theories is: (moral) right (one's duty, how one should act) is defined independently of (moral) good. Deontological theories necessarily generate "categorical imperatives" (that is, duties independent of any theory of good). Here, the emphasis on acts rather than (as in utilitarianism) on outcomes.
Sunday the 1st of May 2011 will remain in the annals of Anti-terrorism war in America as the day the Whitehouse publicly pronounced this much-awaited death. However, the success in killing of Obama has not been altogether unmarred. It has raised several ethical issues that nevertheless need addressing. Top on the list of these controversies is the collateral killings that characterized Osama’s killing and the publication of his wounded dead body. This paper puts into perspective the ethical challenges that accompanied the above exercise in subjecting the events in Obama’s place (empathy) as a precursor to them. This will be achieved by considering two ethical theories; the deontological theory and the utilitarian theory and how one ought to do when confronted with such situations.
Kant believes that all people base their moral conclusions on their rational thought. Thus, deontology is another way of stating ‘the means justifying the end. ’ Suppose an evil villain holds you and four others hostage and instructs you to kill one of the four hostages and if you chose not to do this, the villain will kill every one. You have no doubts about the reality of the villains’ treats therefore you fully believe that he will do what he says he will. This leaves you with two options. The first option is to kill one of the four and save the lives of the other three as well as yourself.
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In contrast to consequentialism, argued that moral principles were simply products of reason. Kant believed that the incorporation of consequences into moral deliberation was a deep mistake, since it would deny the necessity of practical maxims to the working of the will. According to Kant, reason requires that we conform our actions to the , which is an absolute duty unrelated to possible consequences. An important 20th-century deontologist, , argued for weaker forms of duties called prima facie duties.
Philosophy - New World Encyclopedia
4. What's distinctive about Kant's deontology? Kant claims to derive morality from reason--without appeal to any theory of the good. Morality limits what can properly be done rather than commanding conduct. Morality is a "side constraint" on conduct. (Compare utilitarianism's "demandingness".)
Kant argues that there is only one thing that can be considered unconditionally good: . A person has a good will insofar as they form their intentions on the basis of a self-conscious respect for the moral law, that is, for the rules regarding what a rational agent ought to do, one’s duty. The value of a good will lies in the principles on the basis of which it forms its intentions; it does lie in the consequences of the actions that the intentions lead to. This is true even if a good will never leads to any desirable consequences at all: “Even if… this will should wholly lack the capacity to carry out its purpose… then, like a jewel, it would still shine by itself, as something that has its full worth in itself” (4:393). This is in line with Kant’s emphasis on the goodness of a good will: if a will were evaluated in terms of its consequences, then the goodness of the will would depend on (that is, would be on) those consequences. (In this respect, Kant’s deontology is in stark opposition to consequentialist moral theories, which base their moral evaluations on the consequences of actions rather than the intentions behind them.)
A Working Definition of Moral Progress | SpringerLink
Deontological ethics is strongest in many of the areas where utilitarianism is weakest. In an ethics of duty, the ends can never justify the means. Individual human rights are acknowledged and inviolable. We need not consider the satisfaction of harmful desires in our moral deliberations. In practice, however, Kant's ethics poses two great problems that lead many to reject it: