Deontological Ethics example please?

I know Deontologist beleive that deciding the wrongness or rightness of an action is to focus on the action itself and not at all of the outcome regardless if it is good or bad.

please can i have a real life example as to when a deontologist would think the action is right and one where they would think it is wrong.

thank you

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I'm afraid that the two answers above are both mistaken. I want to explain Kant's deontology rather than the unfortunate hangers-on who came later and seemingly never understood Kant's view.

    First, you are right, as Kant explains time-and-again; consequences can never be part of the decision that something is right or wrong. Why? Kant argues that responsibility for being moral is possible only if we know with absolute certainty was is right and what is wrong. Consequences never give us that certainty. So, consequences never have any part in any moral judgment.

    Second, deontology focuses on the logic of a moral judgment. Here you go. Suppose we allowed lying, so that instead of telling people they ought not to lie, we tell them that lying is fine. So we all decide to follow the moral judgment that "Lying is right." Now, when you tell me something, I consider that you might be lying, so I cannot EVER trust what you say. Because of that conclusion, I realize that you cannot even lie to me! That is, the rule that allows lying makes lying impossible. That is the logic that supports the moral judgment that lying is never right.

    Anyone who says that deontologists are concerned with fashion or with self-righteousness might consider a career in mathematics and stay out of ethics. The point of the deontological theory is the argument used to prove the right or wrong of some action. Unless one can produce a valid argument—like the one I used for lying—about fashion, we can consider his ramblings as pure bovine spoor (BS).

    So you want an example. Suppose I am hiding Jews in the attic when along comes a Nazi officer looking for Jews. He comes to my door and asks whether I am hiding Jews. I am confronted with the following decision: “Does morality allow me to lie in this case?” I reflect on the argument I showed you above and I realize that morality does not allow me to lie in this or any other case. So, the choice to lie is wrong and the choice to not lie is right.

    No doubt you and others are aghast at this conclusion, thinking “Oh what a terrible conclusion. Deontology must be a wrong theory if it allows that conclusion.” You have decided to reject the logical argument proving that lying is wrong to favor your personal feelings that lying is not always wrong. So let’s look at your theory of ethics.

    You have decided that ethics must be based on personal feelings, assuming the conclusions above. So one day I tell you that I have decided to take my gun and murder a family of Jews living down the street, maybe they are black people or old white men. (I am speaking of today, not in the 1930s or 40s.) You see, my personal feelings command me to murder them. You have no argument to prevent me from doing what I set out to do because you think morality is all personal feelings. If I must do what is morally right, and if it is morally right for me to murder these people because that’s what my personal feelings are, then I should murder them.

    Moreover, you might focus on the consequences of my refusing to lie. But suppose that one of the children in this family of Jews I am hiding would have grown up to become a mass murderer if he survives. Suppose that the Nazi officer is secretly opposed to the murder of Jews. Whenever someone tells him they are hiding Jews, he quietly walks away. Whenever someone tells him they are not hiding Jews, he barges in and inspects their house. So, my lie could cause him to inspect my house, find the Jews and then be forced by his superiors to have them carted off to the camps.

    You see, morality cannot be based on personal feelings or on consequences, and that is why I am a deontologist.

  • 4 years ago

    Deontology Examples

  • 1 decade ago

    Your understading of deontological ethics is not quite correct. There are two major forms of deontological ethics: one focuses on the motivation behind a particular action (action-oriented), the other on the role the rule (attitude, duty) plays in your actions (rule-oriented). None of them state that the outcome is of no importance.

    But both of them maintain that ethics that focuses exclusively on the consequences of actions ends in absurdity, because no human being can see all the consequences of an action, and what appears good from one point of view seems bad from another.

    An example: a friend is banging on your door pleading to be let in because he / she is pursued by the police but in this case the police is misguided because of false information and if they catch your friend the truth will never come out. You let this person in and hide him / her.

    A DE-oriented person would acknowledge the element of friendship and even realistic outlook (say this happened in a country known for corruption within the law-enforcment) but would point out that by letting this person in you take the responsibility of clearing up the matter upon yourself and should try to do that to the best of your ablity.

    The reason for this judgement would be that you have an obligation towards maintaining and improving law and order although it might be inconvenient, even dangerous to you.

    Letting the person in, then out again when the coast is clear, doing nothing more about it, would be wrong from DE point of view. Keeping the person safe while seeking to find out what the situation actually is then deciding on further action would be the right thing to do.

  • Bob
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Deontologocal ethics make life simple. All that is required is to follow the rules. Deontists make a list of bad things e.g. killing, lying,stealing,rudeness, wearing stripes and checks together,envy, sloth etc., and good things like kindness, happiness, honor, honesty etc. They then act good and not bad.

    For example, there is a chain saw murderer going into a restaurant after already cutting 2 people in half on the street . Should you hit him on the head with a baseball bat? Answer: NO, Violence is bad. If he asks you which restaurant has more people in it , should you tell him? Answer : YES, Lying is bad and not answering is rude, which is also bad.

    The good thing about it is a deonist will always know what is right because there is no room for subjective relativism . So, they are able to be self=righteous. although I would think that self-righteousness would be on the bad list which makes me wonder if a genuine deonist is even a possibility.

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  • 6 years ago

    what type of ethics is associated with assisted suicide?

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    ME i think that before doing some thing, one should ask him or her self that what if am the one what will happen?

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