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Deontological Ethics Is Too Rigid In Its Emphasis On Duties, Utilitarian Ethics Too Keen To Override Basic Human Rights.

1047 words - 4 pages

Deontological ethics is too rigid in its emphasis on duties, utilitarianethics too keen to override basic human rights.Deontology and utilitarianism are both types of ethics referring to how onereacts in a certain situation. Deontology is based on following a set of duties andsticking to these duties no matter what the consequences whereas utilitarianism isbased on choosing the best outcome over a short term and long term even if it meansdepriving people of basic human rights for example. However does this mean thatdeontological ethics is too rigid in its emphasis on duties and that utilitarian ethics istoo keen to override basic human rights?According to a deontologist ones actions must be determined by a set of dutiesregardless of whether the long term consequences are good or bad. A deontologistbelieves in human morals and that every human has certain rights and these morals andrights should not be betrayed no matter what the cost for example sacrificing one lifeto save one hundred lives would be unacceptable to the deontologist despite the factthe consequences would be better overall.The biggest problem with deontology is knowing which set of duties to follow,there could be a great variation in systems between people from different backgrounds,different social classes, different religions and people from different cultures. Forexample a Protestant English Lord would have different morals and a different set ofduties than a lower class Indian Hindu. It is very difficult to tell which set of duties, ifany, is the right one.Deontologists suffer many problems when their duties seem to conflict withthemselves or with other duties. One has a duty to save lives but what if in order to dothis one must betray another duty for example a husbands sick wife needs life savingmedicine but the husband cannot afford to buy it, should he steal the medicine in orderto save his wives life or should he not betray his morals and allow his wife to die. Thisraises the question as to how do we tell which duty is the most important and which isthe least? If the consequences of each are to be considered then this would make it aconsequentialist view and not a deontological one. Single duty conflicts cause just asmany problems such as two people imminently need a heart transplant but only oneorgan is available, a deontologist has a duty to save lives but on this occasion only oneout of the two can be saved. This is known as the doctrine of double effect and is saidthat since it is impossible to save both lives, ones duty to save lives has not beenbroken.Deontology does encounter many problems but also has a number of merits.Since deontologists refuse to betray human rights, every human is guaranteed theserights will not be broken. Deontology would also normally let justice prevail and this isa good quality indeed.According to Utilitarianism On Liberty by John Stuart Mill, mankind is underthe governance of two sovereign masters one being pleasure and the other being...

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