Deontology Or Utilitarianism: The Debate On Ethics

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Are you being a supporter of Deontology or Utilitarianism, this question can start a never-ending argument between groups? Kantian And Mills both share two theories which are autonomous to each other. Kantian appeared to be a strong believer of Deontology; which focuses on duty than focusing on what is right or wrong. On the other hand, Mills argued that his theory is an ethical approach which tries to focus more on how to maximize happiness of humans. In this essay both the theories will be examined and I will be discussing about how both of the theories might be used in ethical issue like abortion. Further, I will give my point of view about what I think is more suitable for the issue and why I want to be a supporter of Utilitarian approach or theory.

Deontology mainly focuses on type of action not on the consequences of the action. Kantian believes that moral decision should be based on one’s duty not on consequences. Valuing the right of others is our moral duty and anybody in this world should not be treated as a tool. “Duties come with what we expect or how we beave can be self or other-imposed” (Prof.Brown Week 11). For instance, a forty-five years old bagger met with an accident and he is immediately brought to the hospital where the doctors come to know that he does not have a family. In this case the deontologist person will save the man’s life as it is his duty whereas, a Utilitarian may consider donating the eyes and the organs to other four or five patients in need. This is because Utilitarian’s focus more on choosing the happiness of those four to five people rather than choosing one person’s happiness. However, Deontologists will consider it as unfair because no one in this universe has the right to kill, harm, lie or use people as tools. Kant believe that wellbeing of each person should be an end to in itself and we should never treat someone as simple as means but always as a means to an end. According to Kant, moral rules are commands and it is demanded by reason and free person acts on reason and does not pay attention to influences that are nor rational. For example, there should not be any exception to moral rules or laws, therefore, it is wrong to kill people in all situations even in self-defense that apply to everyone in every situation.

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Sacrificing one mans life to save thousands of lives is ok because all what matters to Utilitarian is maximizing the happiness of as many people as possible. Consequences matter more than actions. For instance, there is a scenario where you have to choose between one person who is tied on railway track and opposite to him there are five people tied on the railway track (Prof.Brown Week 10 slide). Who would you save? Utilitarian would defiantly save those five people rather than saving one person as, they strongly believe that it is ok to sacrifice one person’s live in order to save five propel whereas, Deontologist would argue that ones duty is to not do anything in this situation as, if you try to save any of them and in that process someone gets killed the blame is on you. However, a utilitarian will prefer using logic above duty where a group of people can not be killed for the sake of one person. Morally right actions maximize the pleasure and minimize the pain and the consequence of an action justifies the moral acceptability of means taken to reach that end and the result of actions outweigh any other considerations. In other words, they believe that end justifies the means.

Abortion is it right or wrong? According to Deontology theory is absolutely wrong as, the parent is trying to kill the child before it is even born. Which is against the moral duties of deontologist and will be considered as a crime. They do not care about the consequences but they care about the duties. On the other hand, Utilitarian will more focus on the end result as, you never know why the parent is getting an abortion. It might be because she is not ready for the child or she does not have enough money to raise the child and it can also affect the environment of the family. 

As Utilitarian care more about the community and feelings of a greater number of people they will consider it as a right action to take. In this scenario I would like to support Mills theory because in some cases the girl gets pregnant and the guy leaves her. It was not the girl’s fault that she and her family had to go through it which is making a lot of people sad. Few communities and societies mostly question single mothers as due to their religious believes they don’t consider it right. In this case to make her family happy and her society to accept her she needs to go through an abortion. Which I believe is a right thing to do. I highly support Mills theory because it is based on logic and consequences. Where as in Kantian theory he focused more on actions and duties rather than focusing one one’s emotion and consequences.

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