A deontological moral theory is a Non-Consequentiality moral theory. While Consequentiality believes the ends always justify the means, deontologists assert that the rightness of an action is not simply dependent on maximizing the good, If that action goes against what is considered moral. It is the inherent nature of the act alone that determines its ethical standing. For example, imagine a situation where there are four critical condition patients in a hospital who each need a different organ in order to survive. Then, a healthy man comes to the Doctorâs office for a routine check-up. According to consequentialism, not Deontology, the doctor should and must sacrifice that one man in order to save for others. Thus, maximizing the good. However, deontological thought contests this way of thinking by contending that it is immoral to kill the innocent despite the fact one would be maximizing the good. Deontologists create concrete distinctions between what is morally right and wrong and use their morals as a guide when making choices. Deontologists generate restrictions against maximizing the good when it interferes with moral standards. Also, since deontologists place a high value on the individual, in some instances it is permissible not to maximize the good when it is detrimental to you. For example, one does not need to impoverish oneself to the point of worthlessness simply to satisfy oneâs moral obligations. Deontology can be looked at as a generally flexible moral theory that allows for self-interpretation but like all other theories studied thus far, there are arguments one can make against its reasoning.
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One objection to deontological moral theory is that the theory yields only absolutes and cannot always justify its standpoints. Actions are either classified as right or wrong with no allowance for a gray area. Furthermore, strict guidelines tend to conflict with commonly accepted actions. For example, lying is always considered morally wrong--even a âwhite lie.â Therefore, one must not lie even if it does more good. In our society, although individuals accept lying as being morally wrong, âwhite liesâ have become an exception. Only having absolutes creates a theory that is extremely hard only to abide by, especially when deontological though permits you from making a choice when that choice would clearly be optimal. One might even say deontological though is counter-intuitive. You are more responsible for making sure you donât commit violations than making sure others do not. So, in the case that you planted a bomb and then later decide it was wrong, you are not allowed to sacrifice one more life to eventually save many since that would result in another violation. In short, deontologists overlook what might do the best if it interferes with even one of their moral limitations. In addition, because everything is always absolute there are no priorities. Every moral is looked at as just the same as the other. This creates moral dilemmas. Each action is looked at as equally good and therefore, not committing any act is morally wrong. Thus, the theory can create situations where one feels confused and unguided by their morals due to the lack of priorities.
However, if deontologists did not have these moral constraints the theory would be the same as consequentialism. Consequentialism is too permissive and does not give the individual proper rights. The moral theory overlooks our natural moral instincts such as killing the innocent. Although those who follow the theory are seemingly always maximizing the good, one might argue that in the end consequentialism is destructive because it disregards all morals.
Consequentialism requires great sacrifice, even death if maximizing the good is involved. Thus, it takes no self-interest into account and does not look enough at each individual. It is natural to look at the action one must take in order to produce the result rather than simply looking at the end result.
Although deontology at times appears to be counter-intuitive, the theory holds the fewest flaws of any of the utilitarian theories. When one makes a decision it is clear that the decision is not made impersonally. One puts great weight and emphasis on their own self worth and personal capital. Although logically one would like to maximize the good, most are not ready to kill an innocent being in order to do so. Therefore, morals and the means of achieving the end result must be taken into account. Always maximizing the good would be far too demanding and individuals would not benefit themselves. So, it can be concluded that the arguments rebutting deontological theory are not as strong as the arguments supporting deontology. Also, if each individual was a deontologist and theories we have studied such as consequentialism. Deontologists are not slaves of maximization. They simply must uphold certain morals that would overall benefit society. Although there are instances where deontology fails, the examples given are generally unrealistic. Such as if one were to tell just one lie it would prevent the entire world from never lying again. This example even shows how each of us is guided by morals in making ethical decisions. One instinctively knows killing is wrong and thus we shall not kill. However, in this situation, no moral dilemma is faced because one also is aware that killing is a worse violation than lying.
However, I believe neither argument is strong enough to accept as true when taking completely literally using absolutes. Morals are an important aspect of making the decisions and one should always consider the means but the ends should also be taken into account. Each situation is unique and needs to be assessed on an individual basis taking into consideration both morals and maximizing the good. This would permit one to go against his morals in an instance where it would be the ârightâ decision to do so. For instance, if I knew that if I told a lie ten lives would be saved, I would tell a lie. Therefore, I can assert that when it comes to making a moral decision there is no fact of the matter. All theories can supply guidelines aiding beings in their moral decisions, but there will always be exceptions. So, by studying a plethora of theories and then taking into account individual beliefs, one can form their own educated opinions regarding what kind of action he should take. Morals are also not always concrete. Relativist thought contends each group of people may contain different morals. From that opinion, one may assert that morals themselves are not absolute. Still, the deontological moral theory provides a strong base for making correct decisions. There are few realistic exceptions to the theory and one can easily notice when an exception is to be made.
So, knowing that deontology creates a valuable beginning for a strong moral theory, one can simply interpret the theory less strictly. Deontology can be a quite appealing theory when not taken so literally. Clearly, one has morals they consider more important than others. If the theory is adjusted for this idea, the notion of moral dilemmas is eliminated and one would be allowed to lie if it saved lives. Deontology, when looked at loosely, is simply a moral theory that says we have morals and we need to consider them when making decisions. Therefore, one may conclude that the overall principles or deontology are correct and that this moral theory should not be dismissed.