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Deontology vs. Teleology--is justice determined by the means or the ends
Philosophy

deusexmachina
Oct 12, 2008
3 votes
5 debaters
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Deontology--justice is determined by the means


tggdan3
Oct 14, 2008
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: littleminx Show

In your example about people not lying...

Would religion have you lie? In religion, that person is given a better life after death.

In all systems that value purity, a sacrifice of purity, even for good ends, is not a good act. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Just like we don't kill one healthy man to save 5 people in need of heathly organs, we don't compromise our principals when it gets hard and then call ourselves principled.

 
echandler1
Sep 17, 2010
0 convinced
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Rebuttal to: littleminx Show

Teleology believes if there is 5 people who will die if they could kill 1 person, then the overall well being of everyone concerned is best to kill that one person. There is no rule that says don't kill in teleonology even though we believe that killing is immoral too. But it also states that an ethical egoist could think of his own best interest rather than the well being of all, so he might say im not going to kill that one person because it is too detrimental to me.

 
xxljessellxx
Dec 09, 2010
0 convinced
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Rebuttal to: littleminx Show

The problem with utility or teleology or whatever you want to call it, is that it justifies illegal and immoral actions as long as it''s "for the good of everyone". For example, animal testing. Testing products on animals was designed to protect us from dangerous products, thus for the good of humans, but was it moral to test possibly harmful products on animals with no choice in the matter? Or what about a scientist who wants to experiment on living humans to attempt to create a superhuman of some sort for "the greater good?" Is that not justified under utilitarianism (or teleology, I think they are the same thing)? Also, doesn't your philosophy just treat it as a number game, whoever saves the most lives wins, not whoever protects our basic rights? Under your philosophy, you are not held responsible for your actions as long as you save lives, and you start to blur the line between right and wrong. Is murder not always wrong? Is stealing not always wrong? If you start to allow them in certain circumstances then the line between what is right and what is wrong becomes unclear, and you have people attempting to justify there actions because they thought it was "for the good of the community." Also, we cannot predict the future, for all we know that child you are referring to will applaud your honesty or the criminal would have a change of heart, you cannot control their actions, therefore you cannot truly be responsible for them, so long as you did nothing wrong yourself.

 
dkturner
Dec 10, 2010
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Deontology does not exactly mean that justice is determined by the means. However an axiom of deontology is that an action is ethical or not in and of itself; i.e. it is not the _consequences_ of the action the determine its rightness, but rather the action itself. Thus deontology is usually set in opposition to consequentialism generally.

I'm a deontologist because I believe in logic and principles. My argument is thus: in order to reason about ethics, one must accept as axiomatic one or more beliefs(*). For example, I believe that life is a virtue; and I also believe that there are gradations of relative valuation in life (i.e. mine, yours, theirs, its). These two statements I simply accept as inherently true and self-evident. Reasoning from these, then, I can conclude that it is wrong to murder: this is deliberate destruction of something that I consider to be a virtue. Therefore I must rule my passions to adhere to a pre-decided system of ethics. However, this does not prevent me from killing in self-defense: since I believe my life to be more valuable than my attacker's, trading the virtue of his life for the virtue of mine is an acceptable calculus, although obviously it would be preferable to find a non-violent solution to the problem.

To take the corollary to this argument: if one does not have fixed axioms, how can one argue that the resulting system of ethics is sound, let alone consistent?

You will notice that my formulation of deontology is not entirely incompatible with utilitarianism, and in fact I think utility metrics of some sort are unavoidable in balancing the various rights that derive from the axioms. This is precisely what US law does with the bill of rights and amendments - some rights trump others. The point is simply that these are determined a priori.

The most common criticism of deontological thinking is what I see Wikipedia calls the "Trolley problem". I first heard is as "would you kill a baby to save a hundred people?", but their formulation is "A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?"

Most people, when asked, would flip the switch. I would not. I cannot act to take a life, by my own rules above(||).


(*) Consequentialists often say that every deontologist is a closet consequentialist, since in choosing their axioms they are essentially using the ~ethical consequences~ of their axioms as a metric to decide. Fair point, but I consider that this criticism breaks down in the ~application~ of ethics.

(||) Of course, a slightly different set of axioms might make flipping the switch the right action. See (*).

 
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Teleology--justice is determined by the ends


littleminx
Oct 13, 2008
1 convinced
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Mmm, well i would have to say that I believe that a moral system is characterized by a focus on the consequences of actions we make. I believe our actions always have risks or consequences so one must be aware of them before being impulsive. (This requires a mind of your own and some common sense)

I don't think that ones actions should be controlled by duties or rules regarding a certain life style. For example if your religion states that it's inauspicious to lie - no matter what - even if someone else's life was at stake...you would be bound by your duty not to fib. This, in a way, screams out devotee/minion to much for my liking.

I believe that when we make choices we usually do them knowing or assuming what the end result will be. I know when i do something I always ponder the drawbacks...the pros or cons...or the chances of it turning out in the way that it should....

 
littleminx
Oct 15, 2008
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: tggdan3 Show

Thats your belief...:-)

You are saying that if a criminal asked you information about something...and you knew that he was going to do something bad.....would you still tell him what he wanted or would you lie to save someone else.
if a child asks you something such as "do you like my dress".....will you say the truth or will you lie to spare the child tears.

Also what do you mean when you said something about killing someone for their organs....legally or illegally?

 


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