Euthanasia and utilitarian and deontological theories

Ancient Greece Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Western philosophical ethics.

Euthanasia and utilitarian and deontological theories

Consequentialism Because deontological theories are best understood in contrast to consequentialist ones, a brief look at consequentialism and a survey of the problems with it that motivate its deontological opponents, provides a helpful prelude to taking up deontological theories themselves.

Some consequentialists are monists about the Good. Other consequentialists are pluralists regarding the Good. Some of such pluralists believe that how the Good is distributed among persons or all sentient beings is itself partly constitutive of the Good, whereas conventional utilitarians merely add or average each person's share of the Good to achieve the Good's maximization.

A selected bibliography from mainstream journals with sample quotations Francione Place of Publication: Another, competing, basis is based on the theory of utilitarianism — the outright rejection of rights for all species and instead advocacy for equal consideration.

Moreover, there are some consequentialists who hold that the doing or refraining from doing, of certain kinds of acts are themselves intrinsically valuable states of affairs constitutive of the Good.

None of these pluralist positions erase the difference between consequentialism and deontology. For the essence of consequentialism is still present in such positions: However much consequentialists differ about what the Good consists in, they all agree that the morally right choices are those that increase either directly or indirectly the Good.

That is, valuable states of affairs are states of affairs that all agents have reason to achieve without regard to whether such states of affairs are achieved through the exercise of one's own agency or not.

Consequentialism is frequently criticized on a number of grounds. Two of these are particularly apt for revealing the temptations motivating the alternative approach to deontic ethics that is deontology.

The two criticisms pertinent here are that consequentialism is, on the one hand, overly demanding, and, on the other hand, that it is not demanding enough. The criticism regarding extreme demandingness runs like this: All acts are seemingly either required or forbidden.

And there also seems to be no space for the consequentialist in which to show partiality to one's own projects or to one's family, friends, and countrymen, leading some critics of consequentialism to deem it a profoundly alienating and perhaps self-effacing moral theory Williams On the other hand, consequentialism is also criticized for what it seemingly permits.

It seemingly demands and thus, of course, permits that in certain circumstances innocents be killed, beaten, lied to, or deprived of material goods to produce greater benefits for others.

Consequences—and only consequences—can conceivably justify any kind of act, for it does not matter how harmful it is to some so long as it is more beneficial to others. A well-worn example of this over-permissiveness of consequentialism is that of a case standardly called, Transplant.

A surgeon has five patients dying of organ failure and one healthy patient whose organs can save the five. In the right circumstances, surgeon will be permitted and indeed required by consequentialism to kill the healthy patient to obtain his organs, assuming there are no relevant consequences other than the saving of the five and the death of the one.

Likewise, consequentialism will permit in a case that we shall call, Fat Man that a fat man be pushed in front of a runaway trolley if his being crushed by the trolley will halt its advance towards five workers trapped on the track.

We shall return to these examples later on. Consequentialists are of course not bereft of replies to these two criticisms. This move opens up some space for personal projects and relationships, as well as a realm of the morally permissible.

Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. The Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism - The intentions you have behind an action determine whether you perform that action or not. Initially your intentions are to look at the greater “good” of the action and if that good outweighs the bad then you’ll probably initiate that action. Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concern matters of value, and thus comprise the branch of philosophy called axiology.. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong.

It is not clear, however, that satisficing is adequately motivated, except to avoid the problems of maximizing. Nor is it clear that the level of mandatory satisficing can be nonarbitrarily specified, or that satisficing will not require deontological constraints to protect satisficers from maximizers.

Deontological Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

On this view, our negative duty is not to make the world worse by actions having bad consequences; lacking is a corresponding positive duty to make the world better by actions having good consequences Bentham ; Quinton We thus have a consequentialist duty not to kill the one in Transplant or in Fat Man; and there is no counterbalancing duty to save five that overrides this.

Yet as with the satisficing move, it is unclear how a consistent consequentialist can motivate this restriction on all-out optimization of the Good. Yet another idea popular with consequentialists is to move from consequentialism as a theory that directly assesses acts to consequentialism as a theory that directly assesses rules—or character-trait inculcation—and assesses acts only indirectly by reference to such rules or character-traits Alexander Its proponents contend that indirect consequentialism can avoid the criticisms of direct act consequentialism because it will not legitimate egregious violations of ordinary moral standards—e.

The relevance here of these defensive maneuvers by consequentialists is their common attempt to mimic the intuitively plausible aspects of a non-consequentialist, deontological approach to ethics. For as we shall now explore, the strengths of deontological approaches lie: Deontological Theories Having now briefly taken a look at deontologists' foil, consequentialist theories of right action, we turn now to examine deontological theories.

In contrast to consequentialist theories, deontological theories judge the morality of choices by criteria different from the states of affairs those choices bring about.

The most familiar forms of deontology, and also the forms presenting the greatest contrast to consequentialism, hold that some choices cannot be justified by their effects—that no matter how morally good their consequences, some choices are morally forbidden.

Euthanasia and utilitarian and deontological theories

On such familiar deontological accounts of morality, agents cannot make certain wrongful choices even if by doing so the number of those exact kinds of wrongful choices will be minimized because other agents will be prevented from engaging in similar wrongful choices. For such deontologists, what makes a choice right is its conformity with a moral norm.

Such norms are to be simply obeyed by each moral agent; such norm-keepings are not to be maximized by each agent. In this sense, for such deontologists, the Right is said to have priority over the Good. If an act is not in accord with the Right, it may not be undertaken, no matter the Good that it might produce including even a Good consisting of acts in accordance with the Right.

Analogously, deontologists typically supplement non-consequentialist obligations with non-consequentialist permissions Scheffler That is, certain actions can be right even though not maximizing of good consequences, for the rightness of such actions consists in their instantiating certain norms here, of permission and not of obligation.

Such actions are permitted, not just in the weak sense that there is no obligation not to do them, but also in the strong sense that one is permitted to do them even though they are productive of less good consequences than their alternatives Moore COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES PHILOSOPHY Detailed course offerings (Time Schedule) are available for.

Autumn Quarter ; Winter Quarter ; PHIL Introduction to Philosophy (5) I&S C. MARSHALL, M.

Euthanasia and utilitarian and deontological theories

ROSENTHAL, A. WOODY Major philosophical questions relating to such matters as the existence of God, the foundations of knowledge, the nature of reality, and the nature of morality. The first definition of ethic in the American Heritage Dictionary is "a principle of right or good conduct, or a body of such principles" (, )..

Ethics is "a systematic process of reflection in which issues of what one morally ought to do are analyzed, decided, and evaluated through moral reasoning that encompasses, but is not limited to, ethical principles and theories" (Silva, , 4). Utilitarianism: Greatest Happiness Principle - Utilitarianism, originally introduced by Jeremy Bentham and extended by John Stuart Mill, (Mark Timmons, ) is an ethical theory which states that to be good is to deliver the greatest amount of happiness to most of the people based on the consequences of the action.

Ethics, Applied | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

1. Deontology's Foil: Consequentialism. Because deontological theories are best understood in contrast to consequentialist ones, a brief look at consequentialism and a survey of the problems with it that motivate its deontological opponents, provides a helpful prelude to taking up deontological theories .

Virtue ethics is one of three major theories in normative ethics, the other two being deontological ethics and consequentialism (or utilitarianism).It holds the cultivation of moral character and embodiment of virtues as the essential issues in ethics, rather than the establishment of rules based on duties (deontological ethics) or consequences (consequentialism).

The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.

Virtue ethics - New World Encyclopedia