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Distinguish between the Different Forms of Morality (i.e. Deontological theories/Teleological or Consequentialist)

by Martin Kinyua
evolutionary theory versus creation story

Distinguish between the Different Forms of Morality

(i.e. Deontological theories /Teleological or Consequentialist); What are the Arguments for and Against each; Which do you find more Compelling, and Why?

Teleological or Consequentialist

Teleological theories are consequential, in that the rightness or wrongness of an action is dependent on the final effect, “the end justifies the means”. Jeremy Botham and J.S Mill, pioneers of the theory say that we should what brings the biggest net positive number.

This has drawn objection on its concentration on the ends rather than the means According to G. E Moore a follower of the train of thought that the Consequential theories are divided into agathistic consequences and hedonistic consequences theories.

Hedonistic theories state that the justification of action as right or wrong is dependent on the nature of the results, either positive or negative. On the other hand, agathistic consequence theories state that just as the colour red is unique, so is good, as good does not always identify with pleasure.

Teleology holds that all objects are made up of matter that changes on a purposeful or teleological pattern. Aristotle an advocate of teleological theories pointed to persistent development patterns. He said that children ultimately grow into adults and that oak trees grow from Acorn seeds, thus showing an orientation for results. Aristotle says that everything was designed to meet an ultimate goal unless such means to achieving the said goal is interfered with, for instance, a young man’s death or destruction of the Acorn seed by a rodent.

Teleology argues that all objects are oriented to the desired end and will continue doing so if not acted on by a negative determiner.

Consequentialism can also be equated with subjectivism, in that it argues on the moral judgment language, that the statements or descriptions used in utilitarian theories are imperative commands that are drawn from evaluations or expressions of a person’s values.

Arguments for Consequentialist

Consequentialist argue that moral judgment must be subjective, taking the case of mentoring a child to avoid stealing by telling them that “it is wrong”. This statement does not indicate whether the command was made out of caution on the law that prohibits stealing or personal values that disapprove stealing. The fact that telling a child not to steal is a command rather than an assertion and it is an absolute rule that should not be judged to being right wrong.

The argument from sentience also holds support for Consequentialism. In a word devoid of creatures, who lack emotions, appetites, desires, and attitude or in a world with no sentient being. Questions arise on whether good or bad things would happen in such a world, take for example weathering of rock by moving water or landslides that might cove an entire valley leading to a reservoir. The fact remains that the good or bad acts only happen to sentient beings who have feelings, and bearing in mind no such beings exist in such a land it would be neither wrong nor right. Thus, goodness and badness are appended to attitudes, feelings, and desires of sentient beings. The fact that subjective theories only apply to sentient beings holds ground in support.

The egoistic argument also supports subjectivism, this argument rejects objective theories, for example, utilitarianism. It denounces the act of caring for others’ happiness at your own expense. A subjective answer to whether you should aspire for others happiness in disregard of your own is a “no”.  This argument asserts that we should work on things that bring universal happiness to all. Or provide a net positive effect in the long run.

Arguments against Consequentialist

Some philosophers argue that subjective theories cannot be used to solve any moral dispute. A real-life example is the Hitler act to terminate the lives of millions of Jews. Therefore, judging his actions must surpass the personal level or the personal description of right or wrong. The personal relation and connection of our feelings have with the act is biased and neither is right or wrong. The battle of personal approvals leaves us with no conflict, rather a futile battle of opinions. Personal values are drawn on emotions or feelings and the power to approve or disapprove is based on personal feelings. This makes ordinary thinkers think of consequential theories as being paradoxical in as much as they address ethical issues.

Another objection to subjectivism is the meaning people relate to the words “right” “wrong” “good” or “bad”. For instance, the assertion that something is good means that we ultimately like it thus making the word good subjective. This has received critics for, ordinary English people in rejection of such views, on the grounds of generalization of the meaning of in the ordinary use of the English language. The use of the word “good” does not only expresses personal approval but also that most people would approve it to be positive.

Another refutes to the theory suggest that subjective theories do not give justification for performing a duty. For instance, a patriotic person may be caught between choosing between defending their country and taking someone’s life. The normal person holds disdain on subjective theories citing that we can be obliged to do something out of a free will and it is not upon us to choose what to do on grounds of whether we like it or not.

Deontological theories of molarity

Deontological theories of molarity, on the other hand, asserts that molarity is a matter of duty. These theories say that our actions are right or good when they are in line with our duty, otherwise, they are bad or immoral. These theories are also called a non-consequentialist theory.

Deontological ethics follows the idea that actions follow certain moral rules, therefore, the action, rather than the consequence is judged. Immanuel Kant was the biggest proponent of this theory that we should adhere to moral rules, that whatever we intended to do was to make right for everyone to do, what would the world turn into. For example, the rule that prohibits stealing is justified in that the world would lack respect for a private property if everyone was allowed to steal.

Kant distinguishes between the actions that are done from a duty to those that are done in accordance with duty. He asked whether parental care would be provided by irresponsible parents who do not love their kids and are instead compelled by the state to provide for them. Kant argues that a parent who acts in accordance with duty rather than on the obligation they have to nurture their own does not act morally. This has however been met by objections from many who argue that some actions are always categorized as bad or good without the context of judgment known.

Deontologists hold that the basic standards for action are being morally righteousness is apart and not related to the good or evil generated. They hold the end do not justify the means, and that the achieved ends can be separated from the action that led to the achievement. The morally upright according to deontological theories should weigh down the goodness or evilness of an action. A real-life example is breaking a promise, whereas it may not be a sin to break a promise one might feel entitled to honor the obligation, not that anything will be done onto them but by the virtue that they promised they have to keep their word.

W.D Ross, A. C. Ewing and H. A. Prichard pioneers hold that the righteousness or wrongness of an act is dependent on the motive that led to the act, not on the consequence or results of the act, but it rather depends on the nature of the act. They rejected consequential and motives theories and argued that it is right to keep a promise because when uttering the promise, one knows that they are putting upon themselves an obligation that they have to keep despite one’s inclination or the effect of fulfilling the promise. Deontological ethics are also referred to as duty ethics because they compel one to accomplish a set obligation or duty.

Arguments for Deontological theories

Deontological theories relate more to people with common sense on matters relating to molarity. The assertion of subjectivists on what is right or wrong or good or bad or like or dislike on something is based on sentences alone or personal opinions. On the other hand, objectivists do not comprehend the difference between factual and moral matters. Dutyritarians agree that the fact that one person is biased in an argument makes the other right and vice versa. The two sides of the equation cannot be equal in any way. philosophers who hold the train of thoughts are called Moral realists. The statement “stealing is wrong” when argued from an objectivist view means that the act can either be right or wrong and not neither.  Or the view on extraterrestrial life, it either exists or not.

Deontological theories also define the nature of duties. Literal beings hold that some duties in our lives must be performed in disregard of our orientation. These duties are objective and one has to live with the thought of ignoring them. For instance, a scenario of a doctor who sees an injured man, on the road, despite the situation and the doctors’ schedule, is obliged to help the man despite the inconvenience involved. This does not, however, imply that subjectivists do not have a duty or obligation or experience the need to deliver it in an unprecedented circumstance but rather they fail to acknowledge that feeling is objective.

Arguments against Deontological theories

The main objection against moral realism is establishing or proving the righteousness or wrong of an action. The claim that the scientific and moral hypothesis establishment cannot be shown is refuted by many critics.

For instance, scientific claims are accepted after both sides of an experiment are analyzed, and both parties accept the observation after examining the evidence. For instance, on the debate for or against euthanasia, both sides of the argument agree on the fact that the patient is in intense pain over a disease that has no known cure, and that the patient insisted on it to relieve them.

It can be argued the doctor was right and acted on the best motive. Although critics of euthanasia claim that it is wrong, questions arise on other justifiers to the action. If the scientific hypothesis is inconclusive then one cannot believe or deny them. This draws critics from

Deontologist theories are more compelling because one ought to do the right thing despite the situation or the outcome. deontological theories work on the basis of principles or morals, that whatever is right is right and vise versa and that an individual shall be compelled to do what is right depending on principles. you have to do the right thing whenever it comes to making moral decisions, without considering the outcome, as you never know when the consequences of my actions.

The fact that I am driven to do what is right cross any moment across any situation allows me to feel to be a part of nature and the system at large not someone who is compelled to complete stuff. The fact. Therefore the deontological theories of molarity are more relevant than the consequential. Say for example the moral principle of “thou shall not kill”, you happen to know of a terrorist who plans to bomb a building. A deontologist argues that killing the terrorist is the ultimate good.

So I h. ve to do what is right, the moment I come across such a situation will give me the feeling of contentment, as I did my part of the job, irrespective of the consequences. So, the Deontological Theory of ethics is more appropriate than the Utilitarian, which says, “end justifies the means”.

The main difference between deontology and consequentialism lies in whether the ethics of an act are being judged by the consequences of that act, or by the actor’s adherence to principle. We can see the tension if we start with a moral principle such as “thou shalt not kill”, and then ask whether we should (say) kill a terrorist if we know s’ he is about to kill others. A deontologist might hold that killing a terrorist in any context is morally improper because it violates the principle (makes us, in that way, no different than them), while a consequentialist might hold that killing a terrorist in such contexts may be a moral good because the outcome saves a number of other lives from being killed. Note that in neither case is moral perfection necessary – either actor might see fit to kill an active terrorist if they were called upon to do so – the question is how they would evaluate the situation morally.


With respect to the abortion issue, the deontological approach pits the Christian principle of ‘thou shalt not kill’ against the secular Liberal principle of individual human rights. Which side you are on depends on how those two principles are balanced in your head. This kind of conflict is fairly common in Liberal political arenas whenever the interests of one class of people conflict with the interest of another class, but the case of abortion is more convoluted and pronounced because of (a) the peculiar physical relationship of a woman and a fetus, and (b) the third-party status of uninvolved people stepping in to regulate women’s bodily functions. Consequentialist arguments would instead look at results: 18+ years of mandatory servitude to a child and all of the pragmatic social and economic problems that entail contrasted with some notion or another of sin, divine punishment or damnation. As a rule (with many exceptions) pro-choice people tend to make deontological arguments while pro-life people tend to make consequentialist arguments. I think that’s merely a matter of which plays better in the political arena; pro-choice consequentialist arguments come off sounding a bit callous and self-serving, while pro-life deontological arguments sound blatantly theocratic.

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