Re: Deontology v. Utilitarianism

I am under the impression that deontology is the absence of a prior fixed code
and it requires us to make a code for ourselves. The ethical as opposed to the
moral as Foucault distinguishes them. To escape the fixed code of utility and
to take responsibility for our actions (our codes, our picture of the world)
seems to me to be more in line with deontology.

Ethics is the recognition that we contemplate eternity under the vast
indifference of heaven (or any other Code written prior to our actions in the


Stuart Elden wrote:

> Hi Greg
> A big question! That will keep people going for a while. I don't think there
> is a simple answer, and this debate seems to be at the heart of moral
> philosophy. I guess the deontological framework is justified because it
> would set absolute codes of practice, moral norms such as the categorical
> imperative of Kant, or the ten commandments, by which there is no grey area,
> things are clear, motive is all, etc. But it's inflexible and good
> intentions don't always lead to good outcomes. Utility tries to look at
> whether things have good or bad consequences, and obviously suffers from the
> difficulty of predicting outcomes. I hesitate to suggest one is better than
> the other: they're both flawed. Someone like JS Mill, it seems to me, tries
> to balance the two with the introduction of rule utilitarianism (as opposed
> to Bentham's act) - that is you judge individual acts on their consequences
> most of the time, but there are some basic principles (like the principal of
> liberty) which have _generally_ good consequences, and therefore _ought_ to
> be followed. There are problems with Mill too, but he's still very
> influential.
> That's probably massively simplistic, but it might help.
> An example - Kosovo. Was NATO actually according to some notion of duty -
> 'never again' - and did it have the desired effect? A debatable point,
> surely.
> Stuart
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
> TriscitMan@xxxxxxx
> Sent: 01 March 2000 04:00
> To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Deontology v. Utilitarianism
> Hello all -
> What are some reasons to use a deontological framework to make policy over
> that of a utility framework? Sorry is this is random, but i'm just confused
> as to which would be the better framework.
> -Greg Cram

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