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Difference between Deontology and Teleology

Difference between Deontology and Teleology

When it comes to ethics, there are two main schools of thought: deontology and teleology. Deontology focuses on the duty or obligation of an act, while teleology looks at the consequences of an act. There is no right or wrong answer – each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

What is Deontology?

Deontology is an ethical theory that holds that the rightness or wrongness of an action depends on the action itself, rather than on its consequences. Deontologists believe that there are objective moral rules that we ought to follow, regardless of the consequences of doing so. The most famous deontologist is Immanuel Kant, who argued that morality depends on our ability to reason and make choices based on principle, not on the expected outcomes of our actions. Deontology has been criticized for failing to take into account the potential consequences of our actions, but it remains a popular ethical theory.

What is Teleology?

Teleology is the philosophical study of design and purpose in the natural world. In ethics, teleology is the theory that our actions are morally right or wrong depending on their consequences. Teleological ethical theories are sometimes called “consequentialist” theories because they judge the morality of an action by its results or outcomes. The most famous Teleological theory is utilitarianism, developed by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. Bentham argued that an action is morally good if it produces more pleasure than pain, and morally bad if it produces more pain than pleasure. Today, Teleological ethics is often contrasted with deontological ethics, which judges the morality of an action by its intended purpose or goal rather than its consequences.

Difference between Deontology and Teleology

Deontology and Teleology are two different approaches to making ethical decisions. Deontology is based on the principle that there are certain universal rules that should be followed in all situations, regardless of the outcome. For example, the rule “do not lie” would always apply, even if telling the truth would result in harm. In contrast, teleology is based on the idea that the ends always justify the means. So, if lying would result in a good outcome, like preventing someone from being hurt, then it would be considered ethically permissible. Deontology is often considered to be a more rigid approach, while teleology is more flexible.

However, both approaches have their own strengths and weaknesses. Deontologists may argue that following universal rules is the only way to ensure that people are treated fairly. But teleologists would say that this approach can lead to bad outcomes because it doesn’t take into account the specific circumstances of each situation. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between deontology and teleology. It depends on what you think is most important: following rules blindly or considering the consequences of your actions.


The difference between deontology and teleology is an important distinction to make when it comes to ethical theories. Deontology focuses on the act itself, while teleology looks at the consequences of an action. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but it’s important to understand the difference when trying to make a decision about what is right or wrong.

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