Are teleology and utilitarianism the same

Deontology or Utilitarianism? Presentation and discussion based on exemplary dilemmas

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Deontology
2.1 Deontology according to Kant
2.2 The good will
2.3 Categorical imperative
2.4 Categorical imperative in detail - the duty
2.5 Categorical imperative in detail - general validity and consequences

3. Utilitarianism
3.1 Usefulness and luck
3.2 Common good, balance sheet and trend
3.3 The good act and the consequences

4. Ethical dilemmas

5. Conclusion and personal summary

6. Bibliography

1 Introduction

What is europe This certainly includes a common European history. Including important social developments, political events and cultural achievements. Over time, all of this formed a European consciousness, an identity a diffuse but for everyone noticeable feeling of connectedness and bondage. What many initially forget, however, are thoughts. Thoughts thought by important thinkers who shaped and continue to shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we move.

From this point of view, the values ​​according to which we as Europeans orient ourselves are central to a European consciousness. What is important to us? How do we behave? How do we deal with ourselves and with others? what is the human? The very specific question that arises is about the fundamental ethical paradigms that can underlie a common Europe.

In the following work, two influential and in many ways competing ethical theories are to be examined - the deontology according to Kant and the classical utilitarianism according to Bentham and Mill. This is followed by an attempt at an exemplary application to ethical dilemmas in politics and society.

More precisely, the following questions should be clarified:

- What is deontology?
- What is utilitarianism?
- What are the basics of both theories?
- How do the approaches differ from one another? And what do the different approaches mean for our understanding of human dignity ?
- How can the theories be applied in a very practical way? And above all, how do we investigate sensitive social and political problems using both theories?

2. Deontology

The term deontology has its word origin in the Greek "deon", which freely translated into German "[...] >> the necessary << [...]"[1] in the sense of the fulfillment of duty means.[2] Deontological theories state "[...] that one should absolutely fulfill an obligation."[3] This is a collective term for ethical approaches that make certain actions mandatory or forbidden. Deontology is, in its essence, a radical ethics of duty.[4]

One of the best-known and - at least in German-speaking countries - most influential deontological approaches is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the essential fundamentals of which will be discussed in more detail below.

2.1 Deontology according to Kant

Reason is at the center of Kant's ethics.[5] It is the basis of the moral law and the starting point for all subsequent considerations and operations.[6] Reason is that for Kant "[...] apodictically evident beginning for the development of his moral system [...]."[7] Why apodictically evident? First of all, reason is naturally given to all people and in this sense it is an objective fact beyond individual individuals.[8] Insofar as a simple empirical argumentation is not sought, this is an essential basic requirement for the derivation of generally valid moral principles.[9] Reason as a comprehensible beginning of ethical considerations, behind which we cannot go back, is given in this sense and does not need any further justification.[10]

Kant notes:

"[...] reason (includes), [...] the indispensable (and non-empirical) prerequisites for all knowledge and action: Without reason we could neither theoretically orientate ourselves in the world of experience nor act in it."[11]

Thus, according to Kant, subjective tendencies such as bliss as a basis for a general moral principle from the start out of the grid. These are not naturally given to everyone. Not everyone is naturally lucky. Rather, it must first be striven for. Since not everyone is lucky from the start, this cannot be the basis for a general law.[12] The respective understanding of happiness also varies subjectively. Here, too, general rules would at best only be possible through an empirical derivation and cannot meet Kant's requirements for a robust moral law.[13]

2.2 The good will

The basis of free will is the existence of reason. Only beings gifted with reason can potentially have free will at all.[14] The choice is decisive.

Beings who are not endowed with reason are subject to the simple cause-effect relationships of the causal natural world. You have no real alternative to this and will follow if necessary. Objectively, there is no option due to a lack of common sense. The will is therefore not free.[15] An animal, for example, obeys its instincts without exception and therefore does not really have its own decision-making power. It just follows its nature.

Reasonable beings otherwise have actual choices. You can either consciously submit to the natural law causalities, or otherwise free yourself from them through reasonable considerations. Reason is the condition of possibility. It first enables people to set up alternative laws and principles in order to then submit to them through conscious decision-making.[16] Through reason, man frees himself from fixed and predictable nature and gives himself up there and on his own responsibility "[...] the law of action [...]."[17] Reason thus constitutes actual free will.[18] With this, Kant undertakes an interesting perspective shift in free will that is plausible and consistent.[19]

For Kant, the good will is that will which is determined solely by reason. The actual motivation is thus the drive from an awareness of reasonable considerations. Because "[...] for Kant the good is the reasonable [...]"[20] and good will synonymous with practical reason.[21]

Kant explains:

"[...] the will is a faculty of choosing only that which reason, regardless of inclination, considers to be practically necessary, i.e. as well, recognizes. "[22]

If, on the other hand, the will is determined by personal inclinations and drives, this comes one "[...] coercion [...]"[23] due to the natural law causalities - a kind of "rape by nature". The will is compromised by personal inclinations and thus loses the right to be universally valid. He is not properly motivated and therefore not good. There is always the risk that, as a result, positive virtues (diligence, ingenuity, strength, etc.) could turn into the exact opposite.[24]

Kant states:

“Because without principles of good will they (>> moderation in affects and passions, self-control and sober reflection […] <<) can become extremely angry, and the cold blood of a villain not only makes him far more dangerous, but also directly in ours Eyes even more despicable than he would be taken for without this. "[25]

And further, particularity can be useful ...


[1] Hepfer, Karl: Philosophical Ethics, p.30

[2] See Horster, Detlef: Ethics, Basic Knowledge Philosophy, p.13

[3] Horster, Detlef: Ethics, Basic Knowledge of Philosophy, p.13

[4] Cf. Hübner, Dietmar: Introduction to Philosophical Ethics, p.151

[5] Cf. Kant, Immanuel: GMS, II, p.204 note by the author. Author: Kant is quoted from the collection of texts by Detlef Horster (2009) with page numbers.

[6] See Horster, Detlef: Ethics, Basic Knowledge Philosophy, p.14f

[7] Horster, Detlef: Ethics, Basic Knowledge of Philosophy, p.17

[8] See Hepfer, Karl: Philosophische Ethik, p.141

[9] See ibid.

[10] See ibid.

[11] Hepfer, Karl: Philosophical Ethics, p.141

[12] See Hepfer, Karl: Philosophische Ethik, p.141

[13] See Horster, Detlef: Ethics, Basic Knowledge Philosophy, p.16

[14] See Kant, Immanuel: GMS, II, p.204

[15] See Hepfer, Karl: Philosophische Ethik, p.144

[16] See Kant, Immanuel: GMS, II, p.204

[17] Horster, Detlef: Ethics, Basic Knowledge of Philosophy, p.17

[18] See Hepfer, Karl: Philosophische Ethik, p.145

[19] Cf. Hübner, Dietmar: Introduction to philosophical ethics, p.168

[20] Hepfer, Karl: Philosophical Ethics, p.145

[21] See Kant, Immanuel: GMS, II, p.204

[22] Kant, Immanuel: GMS, II, .204

[23] ibid., p.205

[24] Cf. Dieter Schönecker and others: Kant's “Basis for the Metaphysics of Morals”, p.44f

[25] Kant, Immanuel: GMS, I, p.193

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