Philosophical Perspectives on Religion, Ethical and Moral Values (9)

 Utilitarian Approach

LaFollette (2007, 26) says, “In act-utilitarianism, no primary reasons are included when considering punishment for acts of corruption. It suffers from the weakness they may not consider normative rules, laws, etc. This position’s deficiency is partly alleviated by rule-utilitarianism, which considers rules or norms and consequences in deliberations of morality. The fear exists that law courts could subjectively devalue rules by ascribing less than ideal justice to corrupt officers.

Establishing the balance between rules and consequences in rule-utilitarianism is not always easy. Hodgson (1967) partly concedes that no form of utilitarianism can adequately account for specific moral rules’ importance. He maintains that one form of rule-utilitarianism, specifically ‘individual-rule-utilitarianism,’ ensures proper consideration by judges. He believes that individual-rule-utilitarianism is more in accord with most persons’ convictions regarding the importance of moral rules and the duty to obey them (Hodgson, 1967, 60). He explains the rule as follows (Hodgson, 63): “An act is right if and only if it follows the agent’s acceptance of which as a personal rule would have best consequences.” This notion’s disadvantage is the significant element of uncertainty introduced due to the absence of any norm that transcends humankind’s consciousness.

 Deontological Approach

Central to the deontic argument are specific rules, be they commandments, laws, codes of practice, or ‘standing orders,’ which act as moral compasses. This approach rests on Kant’s rational categorical imperative as an absolute rule for moral behavior (Kant, 2002, 229). Deontologists, therefore, ascribe to strict rule-based morals when dealing with others. (Blanchard, 1961, 159) points out that deontologists have shown fidelity to actual moral judgment that is probably closer than any other contemporary school. They have argued with great force that moral judgments are really judgments, not expressions of feelings only, and here − for whatever it is worth − common sense is undoubtedly on their side.

***join me on Saturday for No. (10), the continuation.


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