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Lecture 3

JSB175 Reading Week 3 Notes.docx

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Queensland University of Technology

JSB175 Reading Week Three Notes Ethical Theory in Context, p. 9 - 11 What is Deontology?  The word deontology is derived from the Greek word ‘deon’ meaning duty and ‘logos’ meaning science or study.  Deontologists argue that we have a duty to treat others fairly and with respect.  Imannuel Kant (1964) argued that fairness and respect have priority over all others goals and ends. He believes that we should treat other people as an end and not as a means to an end because we are all moral agents with beliefs and feelings of our own, and that should be respected.  Contrary to the egoists view, deontologists believe that people have an innate ability to act apart from their feelings and desires. This means that we all have a duty and even when our duty differs from what we want, we need to fulfil our duty.  This internally imposed sense of duty gives rise to a number of rules which Kant calls categorical imperatives: o Always act in such a way that the maxim of your action can be willed as a universal law of humanity.  This means that you need to ask yourself before performing an action – would it be ok for everyone to behave this way? If the answer is yes, then the action is morally ok. o Always treat humanity, whether in yourself or in other people, as an end in itself and never as a mere means.  This is important because it means respecting others without using them or treating them as a means for personal gain.  Kant argued that we are never right in lying. In this view, even lying to save a life or to protect something would be considered wrong. Because of this, Kant and other deontologists have been criticised
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