Deontological Vs. Utilitarian Ethics

1924 WordsJul 11, 20178 Pages
Deontological vs. Utilitarian Ethics There are two major ethical theories, deontological and utilitarian. Both theories are based on moral rules. These theories attempt to justify the principles and moral rules. In every culture something is defined as either right or wrong, not just wrong or right as a whole. Every society must define what is right or wrong and no universal truths will exist across cultures, this is defined as moral relativism. What is right and what is wrong may be different to some people and it is influenced by where they live and the rules they learn. However morals refers to what is right and what is wrong to an individual’s own principles. The two major ethical theories are similar in that they both attempt to…show more content…
Thus, the ends or consequences of an action never justify the means or motive of the action. So, if someone were to act morally right the end result of their action would not matter, whether it be positive or negative. Furthermore, Kant believes there is only one good thing in the world, good will. “A good will is an intention of a rational being which acts in accordance with universal moral laws that the human automatically and freely give themselves.” The good will is the only true good there is and goodness only comes when we act a certain way. Thus, people must contemplate their actions before they pursue them. Kant believed in a principle of morality called, The Categorical Imperative, which determines whether a moral duty is good or bad. In the Kantian ethics it is stated that, “a right act has a maxim that is universalizable” (Pence 11). Kant uses the word maxim which is a rule or principle you act on. So, this means our maxims should be something everyone is able to do, not making any exceptions for yourself. For example, keeping promises; if you want others to keep their promises you should be obligated to keep yours also. Additionally, Kant argues that “people are free only when they act rationally.” It is said that people act based on their emotions but Kant theory argues otherwise. Deontological theory states that we do not act morally because it is what we’re accustomed to but rather when we understand the rules and
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