Deontology and Utilitarianism Essay

1325 Words Oct 25th, 2009 6 Pages
Describe the main principles of the two normative ethical theories of deontology and utilitarianism. Compare and contrast the two theories, bringing out any problems or limitations you see in each. INTRODUCTION:- Bioethicists ask these questions in the context of modern medicine and draw on a plurality of traditions, both secular and religious, to help society understand and keep pace with how advances in science and medical technology can change the way we experience the meaning of health and illness and, ultimately, the way we lve. Bioethics is multidisciplinary. It blends law, philosophy, insights from the humanities and medicine to bear on the the complex interaction of human life, science, and technology. Although its …show more content…
Thus, if you have a moral duty not to lie, then lying is always wrong — even if that results in harm to others. Deontology is roughly associated with the maxim 'the means must justify the ends.'

Both Utilitarianism and Deontology have their own strengths and weakness. The following are the strengths of utilitarianism;

1. It is a moral philosophy which holds that the moral worth of actions is to be judged in terms of the consequences of those actions.

2. It also asserts that the maximisation of pleasure or happiness is therefore the moral end. But this ought not to be taken in simplistic terms.

3. It is a situational ethics. In other words, each case is judged on its own merits, at least in principle.

The limitations of Utilitarianism are as follows;

1. Utilitarianism has been criticised for leading to a number of conclusions contrary to "common sense" morality. For example, it might be argued that it is "common sense" that one should never sacrifice some humans for the happiness of other humans. Utilitarians, however, argue that "common sense" has been used to justify many positions on both sides of this controversy.

2. Many argue that pleasure is not quantifiable and cannot be compared on a measurable scale.

3. It relies on the capacity to predict outcomes, yet most lack the foresight to be able to do so with accuracy. Utilitarianism has thus been dubbed the ‘Swine Ethic’.


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