Discussion 2


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This week explores deontological views of ethics. Deontological views of ethics take an oppositional view to the consequentialist views from Week 1. Deontologists believe some actions are inherently right or wrong, regardless of the outcomes, where consequentialists believe that actions are right as long as they promote the greatest good to the greatest number.

The word deontology derives from the Greek words for duty (deon) and science (or study) of (logos) (Alexander & Moore, n.d.). Deontology, then, views moral behavior as concerned with duties and principles, regardless of the consequences, even if the consequences benefit the greater good (Baggini & Fosi, 2007). Immanuel Kant’s thinking fits into the deontological way of viewing the importance of following maxims, or self-consciously held principles (Scarre, 1998). Simply stated, for deontologists, some actions are inherently right or wrong.

Why are there so many ethical theories, and why do they take such diverse stances toward similar questions? As Baggini and Fosi (2007) observe:

More than two millennia of moral philosophy have led to little consensus about the fundamental nature of ethics, the hierarchy of moral principles, or the way to apply them in the real world. Worse, some respectable thinkers have rejected the idea that reaching consensus about such things is even possible. (p. xv)

Each offers a different perspective on the basic concept of what is good, so looking at the same dilemma varies greatly depending on the theory. Because of this, the assignments in this course have been designed to provide you with the experience of examining a dilemma from varied theoretical and cultural angles. As you progress through the course, you may also wish to consider whether one or more of the theories presented might be relevant to your future dissertation research.


Alexander, L., & Moore, M. (n.d.). Deontological ethics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. The Metaphysics Research Lab.

Baggini, J., & Fosi, P. (2007). The ethics toolkit: A compendium of ethical concepts and methods. Blackwell Publishing.

Scarre, G. (1998). Interpreting the categorical imperative. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 6(2), 223.


In this week, you examined non-consequentialist theories. The major branches include:

  • Duty-based approach (Kant).
  • Rights-based approach (Locke).
  • Fairness or justice approach (Rawls).
  • Divine command approach.

Of these four, decide which one you believe is the most relevant in our current global environment and explain why you believe the way you do.

To complete your post, a.) use appropriate citations to support your choice and, b.) address your personal ethics by answering if you believe that actions can be inherently right or wrong. Provide an example.

Support your position with references to the week readings and your own research. Be sure you follow current APA Style and FormatLinks to an external site. guidelines for citations and references.

Response Guidelines

Respond to the posts of at least two of your peers. Try to choose someone whose perspective differed from yours. Do you agree or disagree with his or her position? Are there flaws in the reasoning?

Student One Response

In the current global climate, it can be argued that the duty-based approach, emphasized by Immanuel Kant, holds significant relevance as a non-consequentialist ethical theory (Timmermann, 2007). Kantian deontological ethics emphasize the importance of moral responsibilities and principles as the fundamental basis for ethical decision-making, regardless of the outcomes or consequences involved. When combined with the rights approach, the duty-based approach offers well-defined principles for ethical decision-making, even in intricate and uncertain circumstances (Velasquez, 2015). Kant’s prioritization of rationality and the moral law, in conjunction with the acknowledgment of people’s entitlement to exercise free will, facilitates the possibility of ethical decisions that are not exclusively dependent on immediate outcomes. It is of utmost importance to consider the significance of addressing complex global matters such as climate change, global health emergencies, or international conflicts, as the outcomes of these challenges are frequently characterized by uncertainty or postponed effects.

Concerning the question surrounding the fundamental moral value placed on people’s actions, the confluence of the duty-based and rights-based frameworks supports the notion that specific actions possess an inherent moral quality independent of their outcomes (Johnson, 2022). For example, according to Kantian ethics and the rights approach, lying is commonly regarded as intrinsically immoral. This is because lying entails seeing another individual solely as a tool to achieve one’s objectives, infringing against one’s entitlement to the truth (Velasquez, 2015). Despite the potential for a favorable outcome, these ethical frameworks contend that the act of lying remains ethically wrong due to its violation of the ideals of dignity and truthfulness.

I agree with this stance, as lying is morally wrong. It is essential to be truthful, as society cannot function on a foundation built around lying. Lying creates distrust and could cause people to self-sabotage, create conflicts, or have suspicions even if someone did not have malicious intentions. There would also inherently be a lack of cooperation due to the lack of trust in one another.


Johnson, R., & Cureton, A. (2022). Kant’s Moral Philosophy. In E. N. Zalta & U. Nodelman (Eds.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2022 Edition). URL: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2022/entries/kant-moral/Links to an external site.

Timmermann, J. (2007). Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511487316

Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, T. S. J., & Meyer, M. J. (2015). Thinking Ethically. Retrieved from Santa Clara University, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics website: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/thinking-ethics

Student 2

The one that is most relevant to our current global environment is the rights approach. According to Velasquez and Meyer (2015), people have dignity based on their ability to choose freely what they will do with their lives, and they have a fundamental moral right to respect these choices. Now more than ever, this approach is very applicable. The rights approach recognizes everyone has the right to a clean and healthy environment. This means governments and organizations must protect the environment and ensure its sustainability for future generations.

It recognizes that marginalized communities often face environmental degradation and pollution. Therefore, it is crucial to address ecological issues in a way that promotes equity and protects the rights of these communities.

Additionally, it emphasizes the interconnectedness of human rights and environmental rights. It recognizes that environmental degradation can undermine human rights, such as the right to life, health, and a decent standard of living.


Velasquez, & Meyer, M. J. (2015). Thinking ethically. https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/thinking-ethically/Links to an external site.

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