Consequentialism Versus Deontology Essays

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Consequentialism and Deontological theories are two of the main theories in ethics. However, consequentialism focuses on judging the moral worth of the results of the actions and deontological ethics focuses on judging the actions themselves. 

Consequentialism focuses on the consequences or results of an action. One of the most well known forms of consequentialism is utilitarianism which was first proposed by Jeremy Bentham and his mentee J.S. Mill. This is about comparing the utility of the consequences of an action. J.S. Mill proposes this as "the greatest happiness for the greatest number"  as the guiding principle within utilitarianism. Some have argued that this is flawed as it does not allow for one to be able to follow certain moral rules and it concentrates too much on the ends rather than the means. 

Deontological ethics focuses on how actions follow certain moral rules. So, the action is judged rather than the consequences of the action. The biggest proponent of deontological ethics was Immanuel Kant who said that moral rules should be adhered to if universalising the opposite would make an impossible world. So, "Do not steal" is a rule because if everyone stole as a rule, there would be no concept of private property. Some have argued that deontological ethics is flawed as it is too absolutist - it says that some actions are always good or always bad without any judgement of the context of the action. 

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