The Pros And Cons Of Deontological Ethics

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The distinction between right and wrong has been a matter of discussion for centuries, whether expressed through philosophical essays, social organisation or artistic creation. Deontological ethics is a philosophical theory which dissects acts into right and wrong on the basis of the adherence of an act to a specific rule. One of the many formulations of deontology is Kantianism, a view introduced by Immanuel Kant, which argues that the basis for morality are motives for one’s action rather than the consequences of it and searches a justification for one’s duty to behave in a certain manner. One of the critiques or counter positions of Kant’s ethics is Sartrean existentialism as it denies the possibility of an absolute moral system and focuses on the individual morality rather than social one and bases on one’s commitment to his chosen values. Yet drawing parallels between the two positions is far from impossible, despite Sartre’s strong opposition to Kantian moral theory.

Kant’s moral philosophy stands on the notion of good will, an intrinsic good which is perceived to be so without qualification, independent of any external factors. Thus, he dismisses other values that could be taken as good in themselves, such as happiness, honesty, courage, trust etc. as they have worth only under specific conditions, whereas in others they could be transposed into bad acts. For example, trust is necessary for one to be able to manipulate others, one must have courage to be able to
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