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From the religion you have studied, discuss the view that religious ethics must be either deontological or teleological but cannot be both.

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Introduction

2. From the religion you have studied, discuss the view that religious ethics must be either deontological or teleological but cannot be both. Deontological ethics rely on the concept of Duty. They are based only on actions themselves and not on the outcome that will result from the action. Teleological ethics, from the Greek Teleos, meaning "end", are based on the consequences resultant from a given action. Ethical choices must be made according to what is believed to be the most beneficial outcome. Deontological ethics also tend to be absolutist. This means that they rely on a set of given rules that must be applied in all circumstances. Two examples of this are Aquinas' Natural Law theory and Kantian Ethics. Kant argues that moral duty is the only reliable argument for the existence of God. As all humans feel an obligation to fulfil their moral duty, it is this and only this that will bring them closer to God. ...read more.

Middle

Actions are intrinsically good or bad. Aquinas has a similar theory, that of Natural Law. Natural Law is also a Deontological Absolutist theory. Natural Law follows five primary precepts, from which all secondary precepts must be drawn. The five precepts are; 1. Preservation of the innocent 2. Continuation of the Species 3. Education 4. Worship God 5. Live together peacefully From these precepts, other answers can be drawn, such as do not murder, which leads onto; for example, do not abort an unborn child. Natural Law follows a set of given rules that cannot be changed despite what the consequences of these rules may be. Situation Ethics is a teleological ethical theory. This means that situation ethics, put forward by Joseph Fletcher in the 20th century, is based on the outcome of any given action. Fletcher argues that Christians should follow Jesus' theory of "Love thy Neighbour" and therefore situation ethics is based on the principle of Agape love. ...read more.

Conclusion

The only theory that appears to contradict this statement would be the theory of Rule Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is based on the greatest good for the greatest number principle and is therefore teleological as it relies on outcomes of situations, therefore the word "Rule" seems to be misplaced by the side of utilitarianism, yet rule utilitarianism appears to join together deontological and teleological ethics. Rule utilitarianism establishes rules, that when they are followed by the whole community will offer the best result. Rules should be followed by everyone even if they are not personally beneficial to an individual person as they will result in the best outcome for the whole society. The element of teleology in this theory is that it still considers the consequences of actions, yet it is partially deontological as there are given rules that apply in every situation despite the individual consequences of these rules. Overall it appears impossible to join deontological and teleological ethics as they are opposing ideas. However, Rule utilitarianism attempts to join the two and it is debatable as to whether this is successful or not. ...read more.

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