Consequentialism Because deontological theories are best understood in contrast to consequentialist ones, a brief look at consequentialism and a survey of the problems with it that motivate its deontological opponents, provides a helpful prelude to taking up deontological theories themselves.
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Western philosophical ethics. The ideas of Socrates c. The sudden flowering of philosophy during that period was rooted in the ethical thought of earlier centuries. In the poetic literature of the 7th and 6th centuries bce, there were, as in other culturesmoral precepts but no real attempts to formulate a coherent overall ethical position.
The Greeks were later to refer to the most prominent of these poets and early philosophers as the seven sagesand they are frequently quoted with respect by Plato and Aristotle. Knowledge of the thought of this period is limited, for often only fragments of original writings, along with later accounts of dubious accuracy, remain.
He appears to have written nothing at all, but he was the founder of a school of thought that touched on all aspects of life and that may have been a kind of philosophical and religious order. In ancient times the school was best known for its advocacy of vegetarianismwhich, like that of the Jains, was associated with the belief that after the death of the body, the human soul may take up residence in the body of an animal see reincarnation.
Pythagoreans continued to espouse this view for many centuries, and classical passages in the works of writers such as Ovid 43 bce—17 ce and Porphyry — opposing bloodshed and animal slaughter can be traced to Pythagoras. This term was used in the 5th century to refer to a class of professional teachers of rhetoric and argument.
The Sophists promised their pupils success in political debate and increased influence in the affairs of the city.
They were accused of being mercenaries who taught their students to win arguments by fair means or foul. Aristotle said that Protagoras c. They regarded themselves as imparters of the cultural and intellectual qualities necessary for success, and their involvement with argument about practical affairs naturally led them to develop views about ethics.
The recurrent theme in the views of the better-known Sophists, such as Protagoras, Antiphon c. He argued that, while the particular content of the moral rules may vary, there must be rules of some kind if life is to be tolerable. Thus, Protagoras stated that the foundations of an ethical system needed nothing from the gods or from any special metaphysical realm beyond the ordinary world of the senses.
He explained that the concept of justice means nothing more than obedience to the laws of society, and, since these laws are made by the strongest political group in its own interest, justice represents nothing but the interest of the stronger. Presumably he would then encourage his pupils to follow their own interests as best they could.
It is not surprising that, with ideas of this sort in circulation, other thinkers should react by probing more deeply into ethics to see whether the potentially destructive conclusions of some of the Sophists could be resisted.
This reaction produced works that have served ever since as the cornerstone of the entire edifice of Western ethics. Yet, unlike other figures of comparable importance, such as the Buddha or Confucius, he did not tell his audience how they should live.
What Socrates taught was a method of inquiry. When the Sophists or their pupils boasted that they knew what justice, piety, temperance, or law was, Socrates would ask them to give an account, which he would then show was entirely inadequate.
For those who thought that adherence to the conventional moral code was more important than the cultivation of an inquiring mind, the charge was appropriate. By conventional standards, Socrates was indeed corrupting the youth of Athens, though he himself considered the destruction of beliefs that could not stand up to criticism as a necessary preliminary to the search for true knowledge.Kant believed that there was an objective moral law, which we can know through reason, and vitally, this knowledge was a priori - in other words moral laws are not uncovered through experience (a posteriori), but can be known independent of experience.
Thus, deontological theories and duties have existed for many centuries.
Immanuel Kant, the theory’s celebrated proponent, formulated the most influential form of a secular deontological moral theory in Unlike religious deontological theories, the rules (or maxims) in Kant’s deontological theory derive from human reason.
Counter argument of Immanuel Kant’s moral deontology claim, it is immoral to consider a human being as a means to an end. John Mills’ actions are right as long they promote happiness, wrong if they produce the opposite of happiness as the reply for the counter argument.
Oct 22, · COMPARE UTILITARIAN AND DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined by its usefulness.
In maximizing utility and minimizing negative utility, in short it can be defined as pleasure minus pain. Kant and Deontological Theory Essay - Kant and Deontological Theory Immanuel Kant was a moral philosopher.
His theory, better known as deontological theory, holds that intent, reason, rationality, and good will are motivating factors in the ethical decision making process. Moral Theories Of Utilitarianism And Deontological Ethics Words | 6 Pages. Beidong Zhang Philosophy Prof. Meredith Gunning Final Examination December, 6, Section A Moral theories of Utilitarianism and Deontology Utilitarianism and deontological ethics are two major theories of ethics, specifying and justifying moral principles.