Utilitarianism and Deontology

Nov 15, 2017 | 0 comments

Nov 15, 2017 | Essays | 0 comments

Utilitarianism and Deontology


There are two major theories of ethics attempting to justify and specify moral principles and rules, that is utilitarianism and deontological ethics.

According to Scarre (2002), utilitarianism believes a thing person is to do that is most ethical is to maximize societal happiness. The people who believe in the utilitarianism theory believe that they have outcomes that are calculable, and their ethical choices lead to the most happiness of most societal members. There are two types of utilitarianism; Act utilitarianism and Rule utilitarianism. In Act Utilitarianism, there is a belief that the right action brings the most happiness to the largest number of people. Therefore, the people subscribed to this belief will take an action that they believe are morally right when it produced greatest good to large number of people (Scarre, 2002).

On the other hand, Rule Utilitarianism is a belief that an action taken if it conforms to the rules can be morally right, and it will lead to the greatest happiness and good. The people subscribed to this belief believe that an actions moral correctness depends on the correctness of the rules allowing achievement of the greatest good. Therefore, they will take actions in accordance with the rules even if it cannot bring a greater good (Scarre, 2002).

Deontology is an ethical system that demands that means or actions; themselves must be ethical (Darwall, 2003). The people believing in Deontology theory argue that there are transcendent truths and ethical norms that applicable universally to all people. Deontology believes that regardless of the outcomes, some actions are immoral. Therefore, persons believing in Deontology theory will come to moral conclusions on what is wrong and right based on their rational thoughts (Darwall, 2003).


Darwall, S. L. (2003). Deontology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
Scarre, G. (2002). Utilitarianism. London: Routledge.