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Introduction to Normative Ethics

kasmic
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9/1/2015 8:37:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
A: Introduction to Normative Ethics

"Moral Objectivism: The view that what is right or wrong doesn"t depend on what anyone thinks is right or wrong. That is, the view that the 'moral facts' are like 'physical' facts in that what the facts are does not depend on what anyone thinks they are. Objectivist theories tend to come in two sorts:"(1)

"(i) Duty Based Theories (or Deontological Theories): Theories that claim that what determines whether an act is morally right or wrong is the kind of act it is."(1)

1: Deontological or duty based theories:

In a general sense, Deontological theories determine morality of an action by asking about the action itself.

Kantianism: In my opinion Immanuel Kant is the quintessential deontological philosopher. Those following Kantianism ask two questions before acting.

The first question is, can I rationally will that everyone act as I propose to act? If the answer is no, then it is an immoral act.

The second question is, Does my action respect the goals of human beings rather than merely using them for my own purposes? As with the previous question if the answer is no, then it is an immoral act.

Let"s take lying as an example. (2) (example taken from link)

"We should do only those actions that conform to rules that we could/will be adopted universally."
If we were to lie, we would be following the rule "It is permissible to lie."
"This rule could not be adopted universally, because it would be self-defeating: people would stop believing one another, and then it would do no good to lie."

"Therefore, we should not lie."(2)

Simple enough I hope. Deontology is very black and white. The actions of killing, lying, stealing, etc are deemed immoral no matter the circumstances. Deontology has several different theories. Many other philosophers have postulated on this topic. At least one other worth noting is Rene Descartes.

2: Teleological or consequential based theories:


"(ii) Consequentialist Theories (or Teleological Theories): Theories that claim that what determines whether an act is right or wrong are its consequences."(1)

In a general sense, Teleological theories determine morality of an action by asking about the consequences of the action taken, as opposed to the action itself. The phrase "the ends justify the means" comes to mind.

Utilitarianism is archetype consequential theory. Also known as The Greatest happiness principle, Utilitarianism has been defined many different ways. A good general definition is "the belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people" (3)

Again I will use the action of lying as an example.

While the consequences of lying is generally harmful, there are there circumstances that would make lying a moral option. For example, is it moral to lie if it will save your life? Another simple example is killing. It is not hard to see that the consequences of killing generally would be harmful, and thus immoral. However, what about killing in self-defense? Teleological theories, being more circumstantial then black and white, may morally justify actions due to the consequences.

Like Deontology, there do exists several different consequential theories.

Hopefully this overview, while not entirely comprehensive, will be helpful .

B: Contrasting Deontology and Teleology


1: Paradox of deontological constraints

As I mentioned earlier, Deontological theories are very black and white. There is not room for exception. This can create a paradox.

"The most glaring one (weakness of deontology) is the seeming irrationality of our having duties or permissions to make the world morally worse. Deontologists need their own, non-consequentialist model of rationality, one that is a viable alternative to the intuitively plausible, "act-to-produce-the-best-consequences" model of rationality that motivates consequentialist theories. Until this is done, deontology will always be paradoxical." (4)

If a deontologists deems killing an immoral action, therefore, creating the duty to not kill, this "duty may actually lead to disastrous consequences. A good example was presented in class by Professor Turner, where a deontologist would not kill Hitler knowing the man would be responsible for killing millions of other people." (5)

These ethical dilemmas are much easier to approach via teleology.

2: Deontology is to objective

Humans are subjective by nature. Thus employing deontology in society poses a problem. Social and cultural norms impact our behaviors and thoughts, making objectivity practically impossible.

This shows teleology as a more realistic approach to ethics as the world is not so black and white, and leaves room for social or cultural norms.

3: Example of issues with deontology

Scott Davis wrote an introduction to the Barnes and Noble classic by John Stuart Mills "Utilitarianism." He uses the sex as an example of the issue of deontology. Again Deontology suggests that "We should do only those actions that conform to rules that we could/will be adopted universally." "It is logically possible to will that all human beings must act at all times to maximize their own sexual gratification. This would make our social interactions awkward, to say the least, but would not violate logic. To rule out wicked or impractical rules, the Kantian must fall back on consequences."

So if sexual gratification is deemed as moral, then deontology would suggest it must be moral in all circumstances. Or in converse, if it is deemed immoral, deontology would deem it immoral in every circumstance. I think this example clearly shows the impracticality of deontology.

C: Conclusion

In my opinion due to the realistic and practical approach of teleology, in contrast with the ethical paradox created by Deontological approaches, Teleology is preferred to deontology in approaching ethics.

What do you think?

(1) http://www.ucs.mun.ca...
(2) http://www.csus.edu...
(3) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(4) http://plato.stanford.edu...
(5) http://true-reality.net...
"Liberalism Defined" http://www.debate.org...
"The Social Contract" http://www.debate.org...
"Intro to IR An Open Discussion" http://www.debate.org...

Check out my website, the Sensible Soapbox http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
My latest article: http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
kasmic
Posts: 1,302
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9/1/2015 10:45:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I wrote this a long time ago... so number two is non-sense. Both Deontological and Telelogical moral theories are objective. The first focuses on the means and Telelogical the ends.
"Liberalism Defined" http://www.debate.org...
"The Social Contract" http://www.debate.org...
"Intro to IR An Open Discussion" http://www.debate.org...

Check out my website, the Sensible Soapbox http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
My latest article: http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
Kozu
Posts: 381
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9/1/2015 11:37:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/1/2015 10:45:53 PM, kasmic wrote:
I wrote this a long time ago... so number two is non-sense. Both Deontological and Telelogical moral theories are objective. The first focuses on the means and Telelogical the ends.

All I can say about deontology is that it should die asap. As for there being "objectively good" consequences, I don't see how that's possible. Peoples' "ends" are very subjective, and the only way anyone can justify their ends is by inserting their own opinion of whats "good". Why is maximizing well-being good? Because that's what you want, or what *most* people want? I'm not seeing the justification.
Heterodox
Posts: 293
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9/3/2015 8:25:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I disagree with both, but if I had to choose one I would favor Deontological as described.

I tend to fall into extreme categories anyway, so it fits me a little better. Not so much gray, more black and white.

What's wrong is always wrong, even if good comes out of it.

And it's the action itself that carries the judgment not intent or consequence.
TheoryOfKnowledge
Posts: 1
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9/11/2015 8:07:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I believe we cannot began to provide a cogent answer to this question until we presuppose a Creator- a personal absolute. Otherwise our search is tireless and meaningless. The source of absolute moral authority is either personal or impersonal. Only one gives the subject of morality the proper preconditions to make sense of it. I believe the deontalogical and teleological approaches to morality are inadequate by themselves to answer the question.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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9/11/2015 9:01:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/1/2015 8:37:08 PM, kasmic wrote:
A: Introduction to Normative Ethics

"Moral Objectivism: The view that what is right or wrong doesn"t depend on what anyone thinks is right or wrong. That is, the view that the 'moral facts' are like 'physical' facts in that what the facts are does not depend on what anyone thinks they are. Objectivist theories tend to come in two sorts:"(1)

"(i) Duty Based Theories (or Deontological Theories): Theories that claim that what determines whether an act is morally right or wrong is the kind of act it is."(1)

1: Deontological or duty based theories:

In a general sense, Deontological theories determine morality of an action by asking about the action itself.

Kantianism: In my opinion Immanuel Kant is the quintessential deontological philosopher. Those following Kantianism ask two questions before acting.

The first question is, can I rationally will that everyone act as I propose to act? If the answer is no, then it is an immoral act.

The second question is, Does my action respect the goals of human beings rather than merely using them for my own purposes? As with the previous question if the answer is no, then it is an immoral act.

Let"s take lying as an example. (2) (example taken from link)

"We should do only those actions that conform to rules that we could/will be adopted universally."
If we were to lie, we would be following the rule "It is permissible to lie."
"This rule could not be adopted universally, because it would be self-defeating: people would stop believing one another, and then it would do no good to lie."

"Therefore, we should not lie."(2)

Simple enough I hope. Deontology is very black and white. The actions of killing, lying, stealing, etc are deemed immoral no matter the circumstances. Deontology has several different theories. Many other philosophers have postulated on this topic. At least one other worth noting is Rene Descartes.

2: Teleological or consequential based theories:


"(ii) Consequentialist Theories (or Teleological Theories): Theories that claim that what determines whether an act is right or wrong are its consequences."(1)

In a general sense, Teleological theories determine morality of an action by asking about the consequences of the action taken, as opposed to the action itself. The phrase "the ends justify the means" comes to mind.

Utilitarianism is archetype consequential theory. Also known as The Greatest happiness principle, Utilitarianism has been defined many different ways. A good general definition is "the belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people" (3)

Again I will use the action of lying as an example.

While the consequences of lying is generally harmful, there are there circumstances that would make lying a moral option. For example, is it moral to lie if it will save your life? Another simple example is killing. It is not hard to see that the consequences of killing generally would be harmful, and thus immoral. However, what about killing in self-defense? Teleological theories, being more circumstantial then black and white, may morally justify actions due to the consequences.

Like Deontology, there do exists several different consequential theories.

Hopefully this overview, while not entirely comprehensive, will be helpful .

B: Contrasting Deontology and Teleology


1: Paradox of deontological constraints

As I mentioned earlier, Deontological theories are very black and white. There is not room for exception. This can create a paradox.

"The most glaring one (weakness of deontology) is the seeming irrationality of our having duties or permissions to make the world morally worse. Deontologists need their own, non-consequentialist model of rationality, one that is a viable alternative to the intuitively plausible, "act-to-produce-the-best-consequences" model of rationality that motivates consequentialist theories. Until this is done, deontology will always be paradoxical." (4)

If a deontologists deems killing an immoral action, therefore, creating the duty to not kill, this "duty may actually lead to disastrous consequences. A good example was presented in class by Professor Turner, where a deontologist would not kill Hitler knowing the man would be responsible for killing millions of other people." (5)

These ethical dilemmas are much easier to approach via teleology.

2: Deontology is to objective

Humans are subjective by nature. Thus employing deontology in society poses a problem. Social and cultural norms impact our behaviors and thoughts, making objectivity practically impossible.
Consequentialist theories are objective as well.

This shows teleology as a more realistic approach to ethics as the world is not so black and white, and leaves room for social or cultural norms.


3: Example of issues with deontology

Scott Davis wrote an introduction to the Barnes and Noble classic by John Stuart Mills "Utilitarianism." He uses the sex as an example of the issue of deontology. Again Deontology suggests that "We should do only those actions that conform to rules that we could/will be adopted universally." "It is logically possible to will that all human beings must act at all times to maximize their own sexual gratification. This would make our social interactions awkward, to say the least, but would not violate logic. To rule out wicked or impractical rules, the Kantian must fall back on consequences."

So if sexual gratification is deemed as moral, then deontology would suggest it must be moral in all circumstances. Or in converse, if it is deemed immoral, deontology would deem it immoral in every circumstance. I think this example clearly shows the impracticality of deontology.

C: Conclusion

In my opinion due to the realistic and practical approach of teleology, in contrast with the ethical paradox created by Deontological approaches, Teleology is preferred to deontology in approaching ethics.

What do you think?

(1) http://www.ucs.mun.ca...
(2) http://www.csus.edu...
(3) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(4) http://plato.stanford.edu...
(5) http://true-reality.net...
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
kasmic
Posts: 1,302
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9/11/2015 9:08:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Consequentialist theories are objective as well.


I acknowledged this already in this thread. I wrote this a long while back, found it and posted it to the forum. The second comment here I mention that this contention was incorrect.
"Liberalism Defined" http://www.debate.org...
"The Social Contract" http://www.debate.org...
"Intro to IR An Open Discussion" http://www.debate.org...

Check out my website, the Sensible Soapbox http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
My latest article: http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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9/11/2015 9:22:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/11/2015 9:08:59 PM, kasmic wrote:
Consequentialist theories are objective as well.


I acknowledged this already in this thread. I wrote this a long while back, found it and posted it to the forum. The second comment here I mention that this contention was incorrect.

Yeah..I feel dumb now lol
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
kasmic
Posts: 1,302
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9/11/2015 9:38:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/11/2015 9:22:12 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 9/11/2015 9:08:59 PM, kasmic wrote:
Consequentialist theories are objective as well.


I acknowledged this already in this thread. I wrote this a long while back, found it and posted it to the forum. The second comment here I mention that this contention was incorrect.

Yeah..I feel dumb now lol

What did you think of the rest of it?
"Liberalism Defined" http://www.debate.org...
"The Social Contract" http://www.debate.org...
"Intro to IR An Open Discussion" http://www.debate.org...

Check out my website, the Sensible Soapbox http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
My latest article: http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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9/12/2015 9:54:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/11/2015 9:38:54 PM, kasmic wrote:
At 9/11/2015 9:22:12 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 9/11/2015 9:08:59 PM, kasmic wrote:
Consequentialist theories are objective as well.


I acknowledged this already in this thread. I wrote this a long while back, found it and posted it to the forum. The second comment here I mention that this contention was incorrect.

Yeah..I feel dumb now lol

What did you think of the rest of it?
Pretty solid, I like it.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic