Deontology is a specific approach to ethics. This approach focuses on whether an action is right or wrong. It does not look at the habits or character of an individual making the choice or whether the consequences of an action would be considered right or wrong.
List of the Pros of Deontology
1. It offers motivation.
People hesitate when making decisions because they fear what the consequence of a decision will be. In deontology, the consequence is taken out of consideration. Only the action is evaluated for “right” or “wrong,” so that creates a better level of motivation to make decisions.
2. It delivers justice.
Deontology may offer an individualized perspective, but there are no shades of gray within this ethical approach. It is a black-and-white evaluation process. Something is either “right” or “wrong,” which dictates that the individual must always choose the option that is “right.”
3. It can still operate under objective guidelines.
Deontology can create similarities between individuals with like-minded ethics. It is also something that can be handed down from generation to generation. Individuals can learn what is consistently “right” and consistently “wrong” and teach that knowledge to others.
List of the Cons of Deontology
1. It is motivated by pleasure.
Right or wrong in deontology takes on a personal definition. That means people can define “right” by what makes them feel good. It creates an individualized moral code instead of a societal code, which can create unpredictable results.
2. No consequences are considered.
Deontology looks at the action be taken on its own. There is no consideration given to the consequence of an action. Even though the concepts of “right” and “wrong” can be taught to others, it is up to each person to decide their individualized ethics.
3. It is selfish.
At its core, deontology only considers the individual and what is best for that person, at that time. There is no thought of others, of culture, or of society. It focuses on each decision, in the moment, and determines the ethics of that choice at that time.
4. Conflicts are created.
Because choices are made in real-time, a “right” choice today could become a “wrong” choice tomorrow. The chances for ethical conflicts to occur are very high within this system.
These deontology pros and cons describe an ethical environment where there is a commitment to duty and honor, but without consistent application. That is why this concept is often combined with other ethical approaches on a societal level.