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Deontological Theory

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Exercise Theory Title: Deontological Theory

Theory Description:

Deontology derived from the Greek words 'deon' and 'logos' which means duty and reason respectively. Deontological theories judge the morality of choices by criteria different than the states of affairs those choices bring about. (http://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/fall2008/entries/ethics-deontological) The Deontological theory contradicts what teleological theories insist. This theory contends that it is possible for an action or rule of action to be the morally right or obligatory one even if it does not promote the greatest possible balance of good over evil for self, society, or universe, and asserts that there are other considerations that may make an action or rule right or obligatory besides the goodness or badness of its consequences. This theory says that the certain features of the act itself other than the value it brings into existence could be prime factors in determining the ethical existence of an action. (Frankena, 1973, p. 15)

This theory states that when analyzing an ethical dilemma, we should adhere to our obligations and duties. It says that a person should follow his or her obligations to another individual or society because upholding one's duty is what is considered ethically correct. For example, a deontologist will always keep his promises to a friend and will follow the law. Adhering to this theory will produce very consistent decisions because they will be built on the individual's set duties. Also, Deontological theory provides a basis for special duties and obligations to specific people, such as those within one's family. For example, an older brother may have an obligation to protect his little sister when they cross a busy road together. (http://www.bio .davidson.edu/people/kabernd/indep/carainbow/Theories.htm)

Deontological theories are of two kinds, depending on the role they give to general rules. Act-deontological theory maintains that we must decide what is right or wrong, separately in each particular situation without engaging to any rules. It discards the notion that a general rule may ever surpass a particular judgment as to what action should be taken because it asserts that each situation is unique. Whereas, Rule-Deontological theory maintains that standards of right and wrong consist of one or more rules that are valid autonomously of their consequences. (Kerridge, Love, & McPhee, 2005, p. 9)

Theory Application:

The Case #9, "Melinda's Dilemma", talks about the ethical issue that President of the Company would have to deal with. The company has the standard policy which states that an employee who leaves his or her area of work without first obtaining permission shall be considered to have quit the job. Melinda broke the rule by leaving the work place when her request was not granted by the supervisor.

If was the president, from the rule-deontological point of view, I would continue to adhere with the standard policy and insist that Melinda's action would be considered to have quit the job. Since the company

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