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Deontological and Teleological Theories

The moral philosophy technically referred to as ‘deontology’ actually reiterates that an act should only be carried out based on the individuals’ responsibilities (Bennagen, 2000). In deontology, duty is the basis for a right act, which means that even if it means breaking the law just as long as the responsibility is fulfilled then the act is definitely right (Bennagen, 2000). The goal of “Deontological theory” is to fulfill a certain duty, this is clearly evident in the definition of the deontological theory which says that individuals ought to stick to their responsibilities in evaluating a moral quandary (Bennagen, 2000).

“Deontology” does not involve justice and beneficence in it, rather it only focuses on fulfilling the ‘duty’, whether or not it is fair or just to everybody involved (Bennagen, 2000). Deontology is all about sticking to responsibilities, its rationale or logic is being questioned for it (Bennagen, 2000). There are no limits or boundaries to this so called duty making it critical, even questionable, as an ethical theory (Bennagen, 2000).

It is not extremely useful or helpful in making decisions since it is not applicable in all situations (Bennagen, 2000). It is also being criticized because of its self-centeredness simply because it does not really consider the well-being of others (Bennagen, 2000). Deontology tends to take a certain side wherein the other side not chosen is left unprotected in terms of its welfare (Bennagen, 2000). Teleological theory, on the other hand, “judges the rightness of an action in terms of an external goal or purpose” (Bennagen, 2000).

It takes into consideration the consequences that may go along with the action (Bennagen, 2000). Even if the consequence is large or small, this should play a role in coming up with the decision-making or what should be done (Bennagen, 2000). The advantage of this is that teleological theory may be applicable to different circumstances and situations since it “allows consideration of consequences” or what will happen in the end (Bennagen, 2000).

With regards to the questions in the case provided: Would you remove her body, by any means possible, and in the process, sacrifice her life in order to exit the cavern? No. If I do that then I am choosing deontology theory wherein I will be exhibiting self-centeredness and not considering the well-being of others (Bennagen, 2000). Would you decide not to do anything to cause further injury or possibly death? No. Not doing anything will jeopardize everyone’s lives.

I am sure that I will have to choose this instead of “deontological theory” because in this case such principle defies itself. Why? Because its definition is to act since it is your duty to do so. Here in this case, if you act to save the lives of others and jeopardize the life of the one in the rubble, then what happens now to your “duty or responsibility” to that person? See it is very contradictory.

Reference

Bennagen, P. (2000). Social Economic and Political Thought. QC: UP Press.

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