Deontological moral principle is pioneered by Immanuel Kant (Singer, 1993). Basically, it concerns moral rights or entitlements which functions to protect the rights of the person without interfering with the rights of other people. Kant put forward the notion of ‘Categorical Imperative’ to further illuminate the idea of moral rights (Singer, 1993). Accordingly, a moral right is an action that can be done universally and is reversible.
By this, it means that a moral principle is a right applicable to anyone and at anytime. For instance, the right to live is something that everyone can do and are entitled with. On the other hand, the right of soldiers to kill other people is not something that can be applied to anyone at anytime. Thus, it is not a moral right with respect to deontological principle. However there are instances wherein the moral rights are in conflict.
A common example refers to the act wherein the person borrowed a knife from his neighbor, when he is about to give back the knife, he seen his neighbor is drunk and attempting to kill himself with a bread knife. Thus, the person back out and would return home instead. However, the neighbor spotted him and asked him what is it he wants? According to deontological principle the person should not lie but if he tell the truth and give back the knife there is a possibility that the neighbor would use it to kill himself.
In such instance there are other moral principles that can help in considering actions. One of these is the virtue ethics. It basically implies that correct or moral actions are determined by virtues act (Crisp et al., 2005). Virtues include compassion, courage, generosity, honesty, etc. Vices, on the other hand, include cowardice, deceit, selfishness, etc. Another moral principle is based on ethics of care (Held, 2006). This revolves on the idea that correct actions are determined by the care for people related to the individual. In the case above, this is a more appropriate moral principle to take.
Personally, I regard my action based on the deontological principle. The actions are simply based on the duty, my obligations to my classes, to my family, to my friends and to other people. In some sense, deontological principle involves the golden rule of ‘do unto to others what you want others do unto you’. For instance, despite the fact that I can cheat with my personal relationship, I would rather not, since I don’t want my partner to cheat with me.
Virtue Ethics apply since most moral codes in the society are based on this principle. Since childhood, the society tells us that there are things that are appropriate while others are improper. Despite the fact that cheating among relationships is prevalent in today’s generation and despite the fact that some virtues are often neglected, I personally believe that cheating and/or deceit is wrong. Ethics of care commonly applies when I tried to side with the people I love or I have relationship with rather than siding with strangers or people I know nothing about. For instance, when I found my mother in a heated conversation with a neighbor, I would initially side with my mother no matter what is the cause of their argument.\
In the above discussion, the importance of moral principles is revealed. Moral principles are almost always present in every decision and interaction that people made. It is also crucial to have a moral code in a society or else people will just go about with their own morality, which in one way or another may conflict with another person’s morality. It is also highlighted above that indeed moral principles conflict the ideal and real phenomenon, or simply with each other. In such case, a person may take into consideration other moral principles that the person considered as vital for his decision.
From the discussion, I found out that indeed despite the fact that there are prevailing social standards of moral norms, there are still circumstances that call for a deliberation of these principles. In some cases, one moral principle may not be enough to decide for an action. Whether moral codes or principles can be used universally, it is not yet in existence. In the end, people tend to use moral principles that are standard to the society or have beneficial or practical implication/s.
Crisp, J., Potter, P.A., Perry, A.G. and Taylor, C. Potter and Perry’s Fundamentals of Nursing. Australia: Elsevier, 2005.
Held, V. The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global. USA: Oxford University Press, 2006
Singer, P. A Companion to Ethics. Blackwell Publishing, 1993.