Examine the key features of Deontology and assess their strengths and weaknesses.

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Livvi
  • Created on: 07-06-11 16:23

Deontology is the ethics of duty, proposed by Kant. This approach challenges the view that what is considered morally good can be evaluated in terms of a non-moral concept, such as happiness. Kant says that "happiness is not an ideal of reason but imagination." The approach says to conclude whether an action is right or wrong you must look at the features that are independent of what it brings about. It holds that it is not the consequences of an action that make it good.

   Duty can not be influenced by personal preferences and inclination. Kant aimed to "seek out and establish the supreme principles of morality.". Kant identified- always tell the truth, never break a promise and preserve life . Kant believes that every person is capable of working out what is right or wrong. Moral autonomy and freedom to act is key, as without freedom there is no morality as we can only be responsible for the free choices that we make. Kant believes we're always capable of making a choice and that each person is responsible for their own actions. You must do what you believe to be right e.g. not lying even with a gun pointed to your head."

   However, moral actions are only those which must be universal as Kant says "Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world." Therefore, we should act in accordance to how we would also like to be treated. Kant believes that we are never without choice and that we always have the freedom of will. You must do what is right because it is right, "nothing is good except good will."

   You're not allowed to use personal preferences as that's selfish. Morality is about deciding to do what is right, irrespective of the consequences as it's the "good will" of the person that is the most important, not the person being happy. Kant says that "happiness is not an ideal of reason but imagination." The main concern for Kant is not to be happy, but to be worthy of that happiness, as "Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happyiness"- Sunum Bonum. Therefore duty comes before one's own happiness. Also, Aquinas argued that we have specific duties to avoid committing certain skins, these include: Duty to, oneself, family, society and to God. You should do something good because you want to, without thinking what is in it for you.

   Likewise, W.D. Ross argues that out duties are a part of nature of the universe. He also believes that if we consider our moral convictions we will come to understand that there are 7 duties to do which are; fidelity, reparation, gratitude, justice, Beneficence, self improvement and non-maleficence. Ross continued to use our intuition to decide which duty takes priority. Ross fails to give us clear guidance as to what to do when duties conflict…




erm its gooood buh seems lyk its been copied x

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »