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Deontological Versus Teleological Ethical Systems Essay

903 words - 4 pages

Deontological Versus Teleological Ethical Systems
July 8, 2011

Deontological Versus Teleological Ethical Systems
Ethical Systems
Ethical systems are ordered principles or guidelines to make moral decisions. They are the source of moral beliefs. Ethical systems help define what is right or good. Ethical systems are morals that are shared by a group of people, but not all people always agree to what is right or good. There are seven major ethical systems. These major systems are ethical formalism, utilitarianism, religion, natural law, ethics of virtue, ethics of care, and egoism. Each of these major ethical systems is either classified as deontological, teleological, or ...view middle of the document...

Natural law is good acts that come naturally to people. What is good is that which is natural. An example of natural law is if you see someone on the road with a flat tire and no help, it would be a natural reaction to want and help if you could. Egoism is what is good is that which benefits me (Wadsworth, 2005). If you stopped to help someone on the side of the road expecting to get paid back in some way this would be egoism.

Teleological Ethical Systems
Teleological moral system is primarily the focus on the consequences of your actions. For people to make the right moral choice, they must understand what will result from these choices. When we make decision based upon good consequences, we are acting morally, and when we make decisions based upon bad consequences, we are acting immorally.
Utilitarianism is teleological. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the right course of action is the one that maximizes the over good consequences of the action. It is also the greatest good to the greatest number (Wadsworth, 2005). An example of utilitarianism is if a group of people were being held hostage by someone with no way out and they knew they could get away if the killed the person holding them hostage, than it would be good to kill that person to save the group.
Ethics of virtue puts less emphasis on which rules people should follow and focuses more on helping people develop good character traits like kindness and generosity. These character traits will then in turn allow a person to make correct decisions later on in life (Hursthouse, 2007). The saying “Do onto others that you would want do onto you” is an example of ethics of virtue.

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