Deontological ethics is a type of ethics and ethical theories. It judges actions based on whether they follow certain rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty". The Ancient Greek word deon is commonly translated as obligation or duty. Deontological ethics is different from consequentialism, which judges actions based on what happens because of them. It is also different from pragmatic ethics.
There are different fields of deontological ethics. Some of them are:
- Immanuel Kant treated duty as very important. People call his ethics deontological ethics.
- Some people believe that some actions are morally right (or morally wrong), regardless of other things, for example their consequences or the intentions behind them. People call this idea moral absolutism.
- The term divine command theory is used for several ideas that say that an action is right if God says that it is right. William of Ockham, René Descartes and eighteenth-century Calvinists all believed this, according to Ralph Cudworth, because they all stated that moral obligations arise from God's commands.
References[change | change source]
- "Ethics-virtue", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Waller, Bruce N. 2005. Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Pearson Longman: 23.
- Wierenga, Edward. 1983. "A Defensible Divine Command Theory." Noûs, Vol. 17, No. 3: 387-407.
- Cudworth, Ralph. 1731. A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality. Reprinted in 1996. Sarah Hutton, (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.