Deontological Ethical Systems

Deontological ethical systems maintain that an action can be morally right (a duty or an obligation) even if an alternative action in a given situation would have better overall consequences. Theories of this type thus deny what consequentialist ethical systems affirm, namely, that morally right actions are all and only those that have optimal consequences. (Nonconsequentialism is often used as a synonym for deontology.) While deontological and consequentialist views sometimes differ as to whether particular actions are morally right or wrong, these disagreements stem from a more basic dispute about what makes right acts right and wrong acts wrong. In contrast to consequentialists, deontologists generally hold that actions are morally right insofar as they accord with principles or rules that require something other than simply ...

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