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Deontology and Utilitarianism - Essay Example

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An author of the following assignment will describe the main principles of the two normative ethical theories of deontology and utilitarianism. Furthermore, a comparison and contrast between the two theories are drawn, bringing out any problems or limitations you see in each…
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Deontology and Utilitarianism
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Deontology and Utilitarianism

Download file to see previous pages... Utilitarianism usually lays stress on cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analyses. For instance, such analysis has been applied to the issue of whether animal experiments are to be permitted in the United Kingdom. The chief disadvantage associated with adopting such a narrow perspective that is solely focussed on the result leads to the acceptance of actions that cannot be justified morally (Purchase 309). Thus morally unacceptable actions may result from the application of this theory.
Utilitarianism tends to diminish the responsibility of the individual to some extent, and it is also perceived to be exacting. In accordance with this theory, an individual before acting or taking a decision will assess the overall benefit that will accrue to him, and whether the happiness of all the involved parties will undergo a net increase. In other words, utilitarianism exhorts the people to benefit those whose need is greater, by sacrificing what they possess. This is obviously inconsistent with the past and present social traditions (Lawson 3). The absence of a distinction between superfluous and mandatory actions serves to devalue the individuals who adhere to the tenets of utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism is of two types, first, act utilitarianism and second, rule utilitarianism. In both these categories, the rightness or otherwise of an act is determined on the basis of the results. Moreover, in rule utilitarianism, the correctness of the rule is judged by the results obtained from the rule (Loewy and Loewy 36). Similarly, in act utilitarianism, the rightness of the act is established by the outcome of the act.
The deontological theory requires people to discharge their duties faithfully, whilst examining a moral quandary. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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