Difference Between Teleological and Deontological
There are two concepts in philosophy: deontology and teleology. The word “Deontology” is Greek in origin. Deon, which means duty, and logos, which denotes knowledge or science, are the building blocks of this word. On the other hand, teleology is derived from the word telos, which denotes a goal or outcome, and logos, which denotes research or science. Teleology is the study of ultimate objectives and outcomes. Both philosophical schools place differing emphases on certain elements. While others concentrate on ensuring that morally upright actions are taken to produce results, one is more goal-oriented. An action’s moral goodness or badness is determined by one of two competing ethical theories, teleological or deontological ethics.
Teleological ethics focuses on the end goal or outcome of an action and determines morality based on whether the outcome is good or bad. Deontological ethics, on the other hand, evaluate the morality of an action based on its inherent rightness or wrongness, regardless of its consequences. Both theories have strong arguments and are often debated in philosophical discussions.
According to the concept of teleological ethics, the consequence of behavior determines whether it was right or wrong. The word teleological derives from the Greek word telos, which means end or goal, and logos, which means science. Therefore, teleological theories concentrate on the results of actions; in other words, they postulate that the ethics of our actions depends on the good or evil they produce. To understand something’s purpose, a teleologist would look at its outcomes. He will judge behavior as good if it yields positive outcomes and as bad if it yields negative results. Furthermore, this is a consequential theory since a moral good or wrong depends on how an action turns out. As a result, teleological ethics bases moral judgment on consequences.
While the majority of people feel that lying is bad, teleological ethics would hold that this behavior is acceptable if it would not do harm and would serve to save or make someone happy. The potential results or consequences of our activities, however, are not always clear-cut.
Key Figures Associated with Teleology:
- In the works of Plato and Aristotle, the word “teleology” and its associated ideas first appeared.
- Socrates contends that teleological theories are the only ones that can account for every given physical occurrence in Plato’s dialogue Phaedo. He criticizes persons who are unable to distinguish between a thing’s ultimate and material causes, which he refers to as its material and adequate causes.
- Democritus was mistaken, according to Aristotle, in his attempt to reduce everything to mere necessity since doing so ignores the purpose, structure, and “ultimate cause” that produces these conditions: Democritus, however, ignores the root cause and reduces all natural processes to necessity.
- In his book Philosophia rationalize, sive logica, Christian Wolff would introduce the concept of teleologia (Latin).
- Immanuel Kant – a German philosopher who argued that teleological reasoning has a place in moral reasoning.
- Jeremy Bentham – English philosopher and founder of utilitarianism, which is a teleological ethical theory that argues that actions should be evaluated based on their ability to promote overall happiness.
- John Stuart Mill – an English philosopher and proponent of utilitarianism, expanded upon Bentham’s ideas and emphasized the importance of individual rights and freedoms.
- G.E. Moore – British philosopher who argued against teleological ethics and advocated for a form of ethical non-naturalism.
- Consequentialism: Teleological ethics are often criticized for being too focused on consequences and neglecting the inherent value of actions themselves.
- Difficulty in predicting consequences: Critics argue that it is often impossible to predict the consequences of an action with certainty, which makes it challenging to judge its morality based on its outcome.
- Lack of objectivity: Some argue that teleological ethics are subjective and depend on individual preferences, making it difficult to reach a consensus on what constitutes a desirable outcome.
- Morally arbitrary outcomes: Teleological ethics could lead to immoral outcomes if the end goal is not aligned with universal moral values.
- Moral nihilism: Critics argue that the focus on outcomes in teleological ethics can lead to a rejection of moral absolutes and a denial of objective moral truths.
Deontological is an adjective used to describe ethical theories that evaluate the morality of an action based on its inherent rightness or wrongness, independent of its consequences. Deontological ethics places more emphasis on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves than on their effects or any other factors. The choice of whether an act is good or harmful does not depend on its result, making this a non-consequential view. The moral choice is being driven here by action. Immanuel Kant, a philosopher who believed that moral behavior should adhere to universal moral rules like not stealing, not lying, or cheating, is commonly associated with deontology. Deontology, therefore, calls on people to uphold the law and carry out their duties. In addition, subjectivity and uncertainty are avoided by this philosophy.
Let’s say your friend gave you a present, but you hate it. She or he is curious about your opinion of this. If you think lying is terrible no matter what, you would speak the truth—that is, that you oppose it—even if the result of your conduct was bad (in this case, hurting your friend). You are displaying a deontological stance in this situation. To decide what is good and bad, deontology involves ignoring the possible outcomes of your actions.
Key Figures Associated with Deontology:
- Immanuel Kant – German philosopher who developed a comprehensive deontological ethical theory that emphasized the importance of moral duties and rules.
- W.D. Ross – British philosopher who developed a form of deontological ethics that emphasized the importance of practical reasoning and individual responsibilities.
- John Finnis – Contemporary philosopher who has developed a form of natural law deontology that argues that moral principles can be derived from the nature of human beings and the world they live in.
- Martha Nussbaum – American philosopher who has used deontological principles to critique cultural and political practices that perpetuate inequality and discrimination.
- Robert Nozick – American philosopher who developed a form of deontological ethics that emphasized individual rights and property rights as the foundation of a just society.
- Rigidity: Deontological ethics can be seen as too rigid and inflexible, as it emphasizes following moral rules and duties regardless of the outcome.
- Lack of consideration for consequences: Critics argue that deontological ethics do not take into account the consequences of an action and can lead to morally undesirable outcomes.
- Difficulty in determining duties: Critics argue that it can be challenging to determine what duties and obligations individuals have, and what actions are inherently right or wrong.
- Counter to intuition: Some argue that deontological ethics can be counter to common moral intuition and can lead to seemingly absurd conclusions in certain circumstances.
- Moral idealism: Deontological ethics are often accused of being overly idealistic and failing to take into account the complexities and realities of moral decision-making.
Difference Between Teleological and Deontological
|Basis of comparison||
|Definition||An approach to ethics that focuses on determining whether a behavior is right or immoral by looking at its effects.||A method of approaching ethics that is solely concerned with what is right or wrong.|
|Principle||Its main principle is that any means is appropriate if they result in enjoyment and minimal suffering.||Its main principle is that what you do for others returns to you.|
|Consequence||A consequentialist philosophy bases moral right or wrong on how an action turns out.||The non-consequential view holds that moral right and wrong are independent of how an action turns out.|
|Focus||By connecting the means to the end, it focuses on the justification of the means.||It focuses on how a goal is accomplished and evaluates whether the methods used are moral.|
|Weakness||It’s not always feasible to foresee the results of an action.||Rigid and unbiased.|
|Teaching||It focused on the idea that all measures must be just if the final result is to be reached.||It focuses on promoting moral principles and justice.|
|Perspective||It places more emphasis on looking back at the past and making predictions about the future.||It gives each person’s values more consideration.|
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