The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Deontology (pro) v. Utilitarianism (con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/22/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 265 times Debate No: 93981
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)




Hello! Thanks for accepting this debate!

Full resolution: Resolved: Deontology ought to be preferred over utilitarianism.

Both debaters have equal burden of proof, so pro must defend deont over util while con must defend util over deont.

Round 1: Acceptance (no arguments)
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Final rebuttals (no new arguments)


I'm glad to accept, but please state what side you are defending so O can make sure I am right.
Debate Round No. 1


I am the con, so I am defending utilitarianism.

Utilitarianism is a better ethical system than deontology for three reasons.

1. Utilitarianism requires people to take action, whereas deontology only prevents certain actions. For example, deontology prevents people from killing each other but utilitarianism actively requires people to be kind. Thus, deontology stops people from being actively bad, but utilitarianism requires them to be actively good.

2. Deontology requires people to have "good intentions," and doesn't care what results from them. So under a deontological system, someone could say that it would be good to eliminate racism and so they would burn down civil society, which would actually be worse than the potential racism. But under utilitarianism, actions are judged on consequences, so the right action would necessarily be the one that would result in what would be better.

3. Under utilitarianism, it is easy to judge whether someone has chosen the morally right action. But under deontology, that is very difficult to find out. So utilitarianism is a better system for policymakers because their constituents only care about the results, not the intentions behind them.

For these reasons, please vote con!


I'm glad to accept this debate, even though it is something I would not naturally debate on. I'm still willing to try new things! Now before I begin, I feel the need to define somethings, and those things being my topic of defense, and the word Philosophy.

Deontological Ethics - Action is considered morally good because of some characteristic of the action itself, not because the product of the action is good

Philosophy - The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline

Moral - Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character

1. Sometimes, "The Principle of Utility" is not the best Policy.

Utiliatianism, is the worst policy for a moral code. The belief in if it benefits a majority instead of just one or a few, is just an aweful system. Utiliatianism is something that tries to solve the problems of the majority and the less fortunate, without even knowing whom is the less fortunate. Causing for a loss in funds in such that could be used for other things to benefit people.

Now this is opinion, but, a great example to me of Utiliatianism would be the book, "The Giver." In it we see them have perfect utopia surrounded on helping the majority, and making an unselfish world. While in theory this is great, the problem is well the Theory! We are humans, a species that each person has their own traits and features, we cannot force upon a majority in order to get them be happy. It only leads to more chaos then there was before.

The main problem of coarse as Dr. Micheal W. Austin put it is, "Utilitarianism's primary weakness has to do with justice. A standard objection to utilitarianism is that it could require us to violate the standards of justice. For example, imagine that you're a judge in a small town. Someone has commited a crime, and there has been some social unrest resulting in violence. As the judge, you know if you sentence an innocent man to death, the town will be calmed and peace restored. If you set him free, even more unrest will erupt, with more harm coming to town. Utilitarianism seems to require punishing the innocent in certain circumstances such as these."

As you can see, Dr. Micheal makes a valid point, proving that if needed taking the Civil Rights of a few is "better" for all. Utilitarianism cannot work for that very reason, if only a few can be happy then so be it, but if taking the civil rights of a few away to allow the rest to be happy. Then we are allowing for death and destruction in a different form.

2. Deontology is the Best Policy

Deontology is the best policy for a moral code, it believes that if the action obeys moral code and is good, then it shall be good. Meaning if I decided to share a banana with Bessy Lou because she doesn't have a snack, I'm completing a good action, and therefore, a good outcome. By sharing that banana, I have shown that I have compassion and care, and believe my actions speak louder then words.

The great thing as well about Deontology is overall, its goals(unlike Utilitarianism), is not to benefit the majority, but to protect the few. Now when I mean "Protect the Few," I mean protecting there rights. Instead of judging the innocent man, Deontology instead looks and make sure this is morally right. Which in turn protects and even though it doesn't satisfy the majority, it satisfies the few. As I said, "Your actions speak louder then words."

For these reasons above(while not complete cause I don't have time), I urge you to vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Scots_167 2 months ago
I forgot to name my sources, but here they are:



Posted by Bensen 2 months ago
I am not for deontology. That seems very 1984ish to me at first glance
Posted by canis 2 months ago
Objection to deontology..-Does not care for anything but itself...?
Posted by Bensen 2 months ago
Objections to utilitarianism:
-Doesn't care for minorities
-Utilitarianism's goal is to give the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest amount of people. My problem is, there are other good things for human beings to strive for: honesty, virtue, temperance, etc.
-Furthermore, (This is based on Mill's utilitarianism), the power to decide the best happiness is given to a small number of enlightened people. If all the power is given to them, they will indefinitely become corrupt.

Please answer. I am eager to learn more about utilitarianism
Posted by canis 3 months ago
I do not see why it has to be a VS. Egg vs. bird...
Posted by ThinkBig 3 months ago
Just a helpful tip: The instigator ought to be pro. Word the resolution in a way in which you, the instigator, are pro.

The debate is rather confusing to me already and it is difficult to know who is supporting which topic.
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