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Principle of Deontology

University: Mont Rose College

  • Unit No: 9
  • Level: Undergraduate/College
  • Pages: 5 / Words 1176
  • Paper Type: Assignment
  • Course Code: BMA704
  • Downloads: 773
Question :

The well known theory of Deontology suggests that the actions can be defined as good or bad according to the clear sets of rules. Only those actions that obey these sets of rules are ethical and which do not obey these rules are considered as unethical. This is the most popular theory and is closely associated with one of the most famous Philosopher named: Immanuel Kant.

  • Write an essay which is argumentative. In your essay you need to show the practical application of the Deontological principle of Kant and Rosss.
Answer :
Organization Selected : Ryman The Stationer Ltd


Deontology is a well-known ethical theory that is based on certain set of rules by which, one can easily differentiate among the right and wrong. It is a vast field of philosophy and is known to put a major stress upon the relationship among the duty and morality of human activities. In accordance to this ethical principle, it is believed that the good or bad of a situation is determined by the actions undertaken by the individual at that particulate time, rather than, judging it by its future consequences. It is therefore on referring to the supporters of this theory, who are known as the Deontologists determines the good or bad of a situation by the good and bad of the actions that are taken to bring it (Holyoak and Powell, 2016). This states yet another fact where a right choice should confirm with a moral norm where the right should always prioritize over the good. The below essay has thoroughly examined this principle of deontology with assistance of 2 foremost readings. This involves the reading of Deontology’s philosopher named Kant who firstly introduced this theory and is followed by such some arguments presented by yet another philosopher named Ross that has criticized the deontological principle. This study has thus aimed to outline a practical implementation of the deontological principle on the basis of Kant’s and Ross’s arguments.

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Reading 1

This is in accordance to referring to the principle of deontology, proposed by Kant where on considering his readings, it has been found that deontology is duty based ethics and shows concern towards people’s actions rather that concerning about the consequences of their undertaken actions. The deontological ethics are mainly based upon 4 main duties which states to do what is right. Another is to do it by considering it a right thing for doing and not attempting wrong things (Kant, 2017). Lastly, one needs to avoid the wrong practices because of their immorality. Whatever be the consequences of the above applied norms, the individual following this principle is not supposed to justify the good consequences of any wrong action and instead needs to avoid such incorrect activities by referring to their immorality. In such case, one cannot choose to justify any wrong action, even though they have produced better consequences. Kant’s duty based morality is however based on a term called categorical imperative, that is further classified into 3 distinct categories also known as 3 vital formulations of Kant’s belief towards morality and the choice of right actions.

The notion of categorical imperative was developed in the basis for Metaphysics of Morals, developed by Kant and is very much similar to the golden rules of Judaism and Christianity, etc. On considering this particular formulation, a vital declaration has been found to be followed by the deontologists. In whose accordance, they are required to follow realistic and such objectives that are based on some moralistic duties, also specifying one’s cultural morality (Barak-Corren and et.al., 2017). This also states the 3 significant formulations of the categorical imperative as the main criteria of deontological principle. The 1st formulation specifies a golden norm, according to which, one should not consider suggesting those things to others that they do not feel to be relevant for themselves. Another formulation is based on the policy of treating humanity and accordingly choose one’s own actions. Lastly, the 3rd formulation is in regard to explicate a justified rationale for the chosen or applied actions. From all of these formulations, the one that seems to be the most important one is named as an alternative formulation of categorical imperative and has specified the formula of humanity.

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Reading 2

This is the reading of yet another philosopher called Ross who has argued upon the proposed principle of deontology which is developed by Kant with a major criticism of discounting with the outcome of the undertaken action. This means that only referring to the morality of the chosen actions is insufficient and often leads to atrocious consequences at the end (Love, Staton and Rotman, 2016). Although, Kant’s theory does not consider it to be an unfair method and instead believes on sticking to it, despite of the range of destruction, it tends to cause. Ross with his newly proposed philosophy believes deontological principle as a weakening ethics that fails to teach the way in which an individual can lead a considerable life by together emerging the virtues of personality. Ross’s has also proposed duty based ethics that mainly consists of 2 main type of responsibilities, namely prima facie and actual duties.

These duties that are obvious or self-evident. Another kind called as actual duties are those that are based on 7 vital principles of prima facie, namely, fidelity, reparation, gratitude, justice, beneficence, self-improvement and non-maleficence, which is specially to avoid actions causing harm. However, their together exists certain set of criticisms in the philosophical approach, proposed by Ross (Ross, 1930). The main problem that lies within this principle is to identify the existence of prima facie duties in a specific case. Another problematic idea remains in the comparison and ranking of the aforementioned order of the principles, on whose basis, the actual duties are known to stand for. Herein, Ross’s excuse is to resolve these issues with assistance of their own intuitions that stands to be a major criticism.

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This is on summarizing the above identified readings of Kant and Ross, from which, it can be argued that both the theories are someway lacking a justified implementation on one’s real life. It is basically on considering the fact where Kant’s proposal of ignoring the consequences of the chosen action is not appropriate in practicality. It is because a selected action resulting in terrible results seems unjustified, with a special consent of harming others. Ross’s principle on other hand is not appreciable in terms of its identified issues where the philosopher has merely asked to solve the same with assistance of one’s own instinct. Considering both, it can be said that one should undertake such actions that are also morale and are together not meant to harm others under any circumstances. If in case, both of these aspects results in a state of divergence, then one should choose the action that results in benefiting others and avoid making any sort of harm.                                     

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