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Trying to understand deontology and consequentialism

Posted: April 6th, 2019, 6:16 am
by tingless
Hi all, first post! I've just taken a brief ethics course and have subsequently fallen into the rabbit hole. I hope to get a lot out of participation in this forum.

I'm trying to understand deontology vs. consequentialism vs. virtue ethics and I'm trying to figure out whether I'm understanding this right.

Here's the example I'm thinking of...

I engage a contractor to do a job and he does the job and everything is fine. Deontology, consequetionalism and virtue ethics say that whether I engage the contractor or not is morally neutral.

Now, same situation as above... except I find out that the contractor (a) cheats on his taxes, or (b) doesn't pay his workers, or (c) uses stolen goods in his work. Now that I know that his work is not above board, does that change the ethics of choosing to engage him? Does the extent to which he's not above board effect the decision? So where I'm stuck is that it seems wrong to engage him... but why?

What if: (d) he says that he's installing a new door, but in fact he's found an as-new door on the side of the road and passes it off as new. Deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics should still deem this decision neutral, right?

Would appreciate if any of you could provide some clarity!... Though, I have a feeling it may just pull me further into the philosophical black hole. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Trying to understand deontology and consequentialism

Posted: April 16th, 2019, 2:33 pm
by Scott
Deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics don't deem anything morally good or immoral. They are categories of moral and ethical codes that describe what aspects the various differing disagreeing codes in that category consider when determines the morality of something such as action/behavior/intent/consequence/virtue. Two moral codes in the same category might disagree about whether a specific action/behavior/intent/consequence/virtue is immoral, morally good, or neutral.

Re: Trying to understand deontology and consequentialism

Posted: April 17th, 2019, 3:43 pm
by h_k_s
Scott wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 2:33 pm
Deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics don't deem anything morally good or immoral. They are categories of moral and ethical codes that describe what aspects the various differing disagreeing codes in that category consider when determines the morality of something such as action/behavior/intent/consequence/virtue. Two moral codes in the same category might disagree about whether a specific action/behavior/intent/consequence/virtue is immoral, morally good, or neutral.
Fascinating.

I love it when Scott explains these things for us in plain English.

Thank you Scott.

Re: Trying to understand deontology and consequentialism

Posted: May 15th, 2019, 10:35 pm
by Alan Masterman
Conswuentialism or Utilitarianism would decree that if you can't tell the door from a new one then the outcome is good. If the contractor found the door by the side of the road, then the good is compounded. Both parties profit.

Re: Trying to understand deontology and consequentialism

Posted: May 15th, 2019, 10:37 pm
by Alan Masterman
Please explain what you mean by "virtue ethics".