Deontology vs virtue ethics
#11

(02-10-2016, 01:44 AM)richgr Wrote:
(02-10-2016, 01:30 AM)DeoDuce Wrote:
(02-10-2016, 01:18 AM)richgr Wrote: Where does the Church use deontology? Simply having laws, rules, and commands doesn't require any deontology at all. Such notions existed in moral philosophy long, long before Kant.

Key word would be "seems". I don't know a whole lot of information regarding ethical philosophy that's what I asked the question for clarification....





Anyway thanks for the help CP and RF. I understand it much better now.


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I didn't mean what I said in a combative tone. Sorry if it came across that way. The question was simply for clarification.

The main thing to understand about deontology is that its laws flow from the a priori constructions of the mind that Kant said were innate to us. Morality flows purely from the subject as though creating a language to which we are bound. The tradition of virtue ethics, rooted in realism, is robust and sophisticated enough to account for the constructions of the mind as they might legitimately touch on moral matters and duties; for example, if I mistakenly believe, with invincible ignorance, something to be true or good, such a belief is a construction of my mind strictly speaking, and I am not culpable for committing an "objective" sin. It's also important to remember that Aquinas repeats that truth and all judgments of the intellect, formally speaking, reside in the intellect, but they correspond intentionally to extra-mental reality, a reality that as the others noted is teleological. It is from the teleological orientation of reality that morality flows as our minds are formed by the demands of reality.

In simplified form, the difference gets down to deontology being what morality becomes when the subject exists in solipsism, in isolation from the rest of reality, and virtue ethics is what morality becomes when the subject exists as one among many in real interaction and development. This interaction makes real, persisting demands on persons, which can then be articulated and enforced as laws, rules, commands, etc.

No worries. I just didn't want you to think meant something I did not.

This is helpful. Is there any further reading I can do on this subject?

Thank you


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#12
All of the Catholic Encyclopedia articles on these topics are quite good. You can look up Ethics, Morality, Categorical Imperative. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Deontology is quite good and will give a more rigorous exposure of that form of ethics. I think just reading MacIntyre will provide all the basic points to see why Deontology is wrong. If you can get your hands on John Deely's Four Ages of Understanding, his section on modern philosophy is also pretty illuminating for understanding the epistemological differences between a virtue ethics rooted in realism and deontology.
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#13
(02-09-2016, 07:00 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I don't really think the two views can be harmonized. Both virtue ethics and natural law theory are based upon the idea that entities have an inherent ordering toward a particular end. As Alasdair MacIntyre recognized, this ultimately means that virtue ethics must be rooted in a philosophical biology. Following Schmitt, I would also assert that it cannot be separated from a particular theology and a particular understanding of politics.

In contrast, modern deontological theories of morality seem to me to be based entirely upon an abstract, and I suppose ultimately Cartesian, concept of the person. Back before the Church was an NGO with a bit of spirituality thrown in, it did not accept this concept of personhood, and so it could not accept any theory of morality based upon it. Of course, Christians did still talk about duty, but they were not talking about abstract duties that apply to all persons universally, but rather concrete duties that apply to people embedded in families, political communities, and the Church. Even in cases where something is immoral because it goes against a particular command of God that has been added to the natural law, the immorality of the action is the result of a failure to act properly in our relationship with God, which is itself based upon the kind of entities that we are, rather than the failure to fulfill some sort of universal duty.

Honestly, deontology seems to lead to a pretty distorted and imbalanced view of things, which I think is evident in the way in which a large number of Christians choose to engage with American politics.

Agreed. Deontological ethics is essentially an effort to recover moral truth after rejecting Natural Law theory. Descartes rejected teleological concepts of nature, which is important because Kant, the first modern deontological ethicist, took as the starting point of his new philosophical system cartesian scepticism. Without NLT various aspects of Catholic dogma cannot be defended on the basis of natural reason alone.
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#14
(02-11-2016, 07:33 PM)Pacman Wrote:
(02-09-2016, 07:00 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I don't really think the two views can be harmonized. Both virtue ethics and natural law theory are based upon the idea that entities have an inherent ordering toward a particular end. As Alasdair MacIntyre recognized, this ultimately means that virtue ethics must be rooted in a philosophical biology. Following Schmitt, I would also assert that it cannot be separated from a particular theology and a particular understanding of politics.

In contrast, modern deontological theories of morality seem to me to be based entirely upon an abstract, and I suppose ultimately Cartesian, concept of the person. Back before the Church was an NGO with a bit of spirituality thrown in, it did not accept this concept of personhood, and so it could not accept any theory of morality based upon it. Of course, Christians did still talk about duty, but they were not talking about abstract duties that apply to all persons universally, but rather concrete duties that apply to people embedded in families, political communities, and the Church. Even in cases where something is immoral because it goes against a particular command of God that has been added to the natural law, the immorality of the action is the result of a failure to act properly in our relationship with God, which is itself based upon the kind of entities that we are, rather than the failure to fulfill some sort of universal duty.

Honestly, deontology seems to lead to a pretty distorted and imbalanced view of things, which I think is evident in the way in which a large number of Christians choose to engage with American politics.

Agreed. Deontological ethics is essentially an effort to recover moral truth after rejecting Natural Law theory. Descartes rejected teleological concepts of nature, which is important because Kant, the first modern deontological ethicist, took as the starting point of his new philosophical system cartesian scepticism. Without NLT various aspects of Catholic dogma cannot be defended on the basis of natural reason alone.

I admit I'm in way over my head when it comes to the abstract and academic world of philosophy, but what you said here strikes a chord somehow. Perhaps the reason I struggle so immensely with buying into the notion that our Faith can be defended by reason at all is because--- at least unconsciously--- I reject the natural law and certain things that must be upheld and believed to make reason reasonable and trustworthy at all. I hope that makes sense...

Perhaps most of us moderns have somehow almost through cultural osmosis alone imbibed what you guys might call a Descartres/ Kantian way of viewing the world. I for one have always, always thought the concept of natural law or the notion that we even should try to defend abstractions like the Trinity,the Incarnation or even God's existence on reason alone as sheer bunk and nonsense.

I've always just struggled with the whole Faith/Reason thing--- immensely.


To get off topic to what another poster before said about the manualist moral theology, perhaps Vatican II and ethics that came out of it was the fruit of this Kant and Descartes way of viewing the world, perhaps even within the Church people stopped believing reason could actually touch on moral truths at all, or that there was a such thing as teleology. After all I suppose Darwins theory ( which became totally in vogue last century) basically acts without any reference to the notion of " ends" at all. It's blind, purposeless and meaningless. How do we get back? Can we get back?

I'm not trying to derail anything here,just stepping in because this struck a chord.
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#15
The phrase "Deontology" gives you a hint: Deontology does not maintain that ethics can be grounded in reality itself, it is not ontological - i.e., morals cannot be deduced from rational principles about what is, about nature. So in the case of Kant's version of deontological ethics, the Categorical Imperative, he is saying that ethical principles for human conduct can be deduced by reason, but not from nature. 
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#16
(02-14-2016, 04:12 AM)Pacman Wrote: The phrase "Deontology" gives you a hint: Deontology does not maintain that ethics can be grounded in reality itself, it is not ontological - i.e., morals cannot be deduced from rational principles about what is, about nature. So in the case of Kant's version of deontological ethics, the Categorical Imperative, he is saying that ethical principles for human conduct can be deduced by reason, but not from nature.

This is definitely something I'm interested in exploring with an open mind. Unlike many here at Fisheaters I have never taken a Philosophy course nor do I have a higher education. I'm pretty much a low class lowlife that likes to read ha! I've always been fascinated by these sorts of topics though, even though I suppose I ought to start at philosophy 101 and build my way up.
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#17
(02-14-2016, 11:02 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote:
(02-14-2016, 04:12 AM)Pacman Wrote: The phrase "Deontology" gives you a hint: Deontology does not maintain that ethics can be grounded in reality itself, it is not ontological - i.e., morals cannot be deduced from rational principles about what is, about nature. So in the case of Kant's version of deontological ethics, the Categorical Imperative, he is saying that ethical principles for human conduct can be deduced by reason, but not from nature.

This is definitely something I'm interested in exploring with an open mind. Unlike many here at Fisheaters I have never taken a Philosophy course nor do I have a higher education. I'm pretty much a low class lowlife that likes to read ha! I've always been fascinated by these sorts of topics though, even though I suppose I ought to start at philosophy 101 and build my way up.

From what I can tell FB is your a really intelligent guy. Don't be so hard on yourself! You don't need a biased liberal education to be smart. Most of the in-depth knowledge I have acquired have been on my own accord and not that of my college education. Just keep reading.  Grin
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#18
I second DeoDUCE. Don't beat yourself up about your lack of higher education. I come from the dirt too and I am absolutely convinced that higher education is a long anti-christian liberal indoctrination process. You know, Shakespeare only had several years of formal education. You just need to read a lot and think critically.
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