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by: Ariel williams

Deontology RELT 373

Ariel williams

GPA 3.2

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About this Document

Deontology defined
Christian Ethics
Dr. Stephen Bauer
Class Notes
Christain, ethics, Deontology
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ariel williams on Wednesday October 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to RELT 373 at Southern Adventist University taught by Dr. Stephen Bauer in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Christian Ethics in Religious Studies at Southern Adventist University.


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Date Created: 10/05/16
Deontology "If deontology is a set of unchanging beliefs, i.e. doing your duty without worrying about consequence, would that be something you can decide for yourself?  You  could be your own authority with your choice of beliefs.  Can't that be categorized as Libertine?" This is a good question.  Let me clarify a bit:   While Deontology has strong affinities to being absolutist (fixed, unchanging  standards) the key question here is not how absolute or relativist your standards  are but what this basis you use to know moral right and wrong.   Deontology uses duties, not consequences to determine right and wrong. Now it is theoretically possible to, in a libertine way, create your own duties but  self­created duties tend to be easily excused and excepted on the basis of  consequence and self­interest to avoid painful circumstances.  (Just look at how  many of us profess to follow absolute duties prescribed by God yet we rationalize deviation for self convenience.  How much easier if I and not God am the source  of my duties!).  The real issue here is that Deontology is usually allied with Paternalism in that  our duties come from a higher authority (usually viewed as God),  but our  application of those duties is libertine.  God says do not steal, but I have to  decide how to apply that when I do my income taxes, when I have a cashier who  gives me too much change, etc.   The duties themselves may well NOT be self­ chosen (hence the paternalist aspect is added in), but what I do with those duties IS my choice.  So I would say most Deontology is likely paternalist in establishing duties but libertine in applying them.  This libertine application is why we can be  held individually accountable to God in the judgement, much as a parent gives  the child a duty, then holds the child accountable for how they chose to apply that duty in their behavior.    So we should not confuse a libertine application with  a  libertine­self­made decision of what is right and wrong without outside advice or  prescription.   Applying right and wrong is not the same as determining what is  right and wrong. One more example: God says do not murder.   A duty not to unjustly take life is  prescribed by God as duty which tells me what is wrong or right.   But how might  I apply that duty to the issue of abortion?  Is abortion murder or not?  The duty is  clearly defined but application brings a personal­interpretive element that can be  quite libertine (again in the application, not in the the determination of what is  right and wrong).  So the pregnant woman is free to decide if and how she will  apply the 6th commandment to her pregnancy.  She does not make the  commandment, she only determines how she will apply it.  Thus the duty is  prescribed from outside, not through her libertine choice.   She does not create  the moral standard or duty, she only applies it. Let me know if you still have questions!


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