4 pages
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1196 words
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Outcomes vs the Right Duties

July 12, 2018
Mendoza 1
Andreina Mendoza
Professor Albright
PHIL 2400-001
5 March 2018
Outcomes vs the Right Duties
Have you ever done something unethical, only because it benefited the majority? Or,
have you done your duty, no matter if the outcome was bad? These questions are to help expose
two moral theories: Deontology and Utilitarianism, which are used to tell us how to live our
lives. Both of these theories are pertinent to everyday scenarios; they have their negative and
positive aspects, but one could never be completely followed because of some flaws. They each
follow a different principle and are two different kinds of theories. Deontology is a
non-consequentialist theory, meaning it focuses on acts in themselves or motives being the most
significant to cause their acts. This theory’s central philosophical concept is the Categorical
Imperative: Formula of the End in Itself,
which means never to treat anyone as means, but as an
end as well. On the other hand, Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory; consequences are the
focal point when determining if an act is considered right or wrong. This theory’s main principle
is the Greatest Happiness Principle (GHP), which means that people should act based on which
option is always producing the most amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people.
Neither theory is the fittest one, both have their flaws. Deontology can be seen as bringing more
negativity to the world since acts are done without thinking of the consequences. Utilitarianism
can also be seen as bad since one would be required to do immorally actions for the good of
Mendoza 2
everyone. Kant and Mills give their views on the theories, which help better understand the
A deontological moral theory, according to Kant, is the ethical position one takes isn’t
based on what the outcome would be, but whether it is their duty or rightfulness. Kant believed
that there was a supreme principle of morality, which is the Categorical Imperative. In the text, A
Simplified Account of Kant's Ethic
by Onora O'Neill, discusses the principle, Categorical
Imperative, specifically referring to Formula of the end in itself
: “Act in such a way that you
always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as
a means but always at the same time as an end”(1). To be treated as a mean is to be treated as

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