How Far Is Deontology an Adequate Ethical Theory?

492 Words2 Pages
In order to accurately assess the adequacy of deontology as an ethical theory, we must first understand what we mean by adequate. In order to determine how adequate the theory is, we must examine how reasonable and pragmatic the theory is. If it fails on one of these counts, then it cannot work as a theory. Deontology states that we should never consider our emotions when we make an ethical choice, but can we argue that this is a reasonable expectation? Humans are naturally emotional, and it seems like we would deny our very nature to ignore this when making any ethical decisions. The idea of ignoring emotion entirely weakens the argument. Another stipulation of any ethical theory being reasonable is that it prevents actions commonly accepted as being immoral. Kant’s idea of the categorical imperative would prohibit these immoral actions, but can we really argue that this is a strength, when most ethical theories, and even most people, would agree that these actions are wrong. Would we really need to implement an entirely new system in order to prevent these problems? Kant’s idea of the universalizability seems, at first, perfectly reasonable. It can be linked the bible quote “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. The idea that we should act in a way that we would be happy for everyone to behave seems sensible – but in theory, we could universalize anything – for example we could universalize “not giving money to charity” because the poor would not be able to do this, but this is ludicrous! According to Kant’s deontology, this would be perfectly reasonable. Although the universalizability system is clear, it doesn’t work and takes away from the adequacy of the theory. Secondly, we can explore the pragmatism of the theory. Again we can look at Kant’s belief that we should never consider our emotions when making an ethical decision. In a real
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