Rule Non-consequentialist Theories

            The non-consequentialist theories acknowledge the existence of certain absolutes in moral behaviors that should be strictly adhered to if the objective of promoting morality and virtue ethics is to be achieved in the society. According to rule non-consequentialist theories, there are pre-determined rules that direct moral judgment separately from their related consequences. Supporters of these theories articulate judgment of morality to intuitions, good will, divine command, emotions, duty, categorical imperative, consistency, inclination and universalizability.[1] Moral relativism on the other hand, opposes the articulation of morality to the universal principles that are absolute and defines what morality should be. Relativistic morality acknowledges the disparities of different communities and culture. The position here is that morality is defined differently among the diverse communities and therefore individual should not be judged according to the predetermined absolute principles but according to the definition of morality according to the communities from which they come from[2].

I will have to take to positions in the matter of morality in expressing my view on the two theories of morality and ethics. Having defined the position of the rule non-consequentialist theories, I think there are more advantages emanating from the non-consequentialist theories. By defining morality using universal principles, the society stands more secure ground because the possibilities of moral erosion are minimized. The act of morality can be instilled in the children at their early stage and they can they be trusted to conduct themselves ethically for the rest of their lives. According to Act non-consequentialist theory, individual should not focus on the consequences of their action but relies more on their emotions and intuitions to determine morality[3].

Through intuition, people get convictions of what is right and wrong and these convictions define morality. When individuals become sensitive to their instincts generally, immorality will be reduced in the entire society because any action against one’s own instinct will be condemning the person. Therefore, by reasoning in morals we authenticate our intuitions. Non-consequentialist aspect of ignorance of the consequences may also be helpful in avoiding some immoral activities which may seem to bring about good results for example, when some government official are contemplating embezzlement of the public funds, the consequences may strengthen their incentive for the immoral act as they will be focusing on the size of their accounts. Non-consequentialist theory would avoid such occurrences in the society as individuals will listen to their instincts definition of right and wrong and irrespective of the consequences, they will opt to do what congruent with their intuition. The perception of non–consequentialist about divine command determining judgment of moral may also stem several advantages to the development of morality.[4]

Individual will display utterly submission to the divine being and hence the moral standards prescribed by the divine command will be unobjectionable and will call for full submission. In this case, the morality of the society will be articulated to unchallengeable foundation and thus will stand the test of time. People will live according to the defined morality and virtuous life leading to development of good character, which is the root of happiness in the society. However, there are various critiques and arguments to these theories of non-consequentialist. There is no proof that intuitions are always true about what is right or wrong some of them are normally wild guesses and yet they do not have provision for criticism. When everybody brings his/her intuition on board, the will be no any criteria for judging whose intuition is more correct. Besides, human beings have not been proved to have an inborn sense of moral.

Some non-consequentialist theories that articulate the definition of moral to the divine command are normally misplaced because some of the divine commands do not rationality in their foundations. Although some commands have the element of morality, they cannot be substantiated satisfactorily and this may cause future problems in trying to pass these commands to the other successive generations. The religious people who strongly rely on the guidance provided by the divine commandments have divergent interpretation of the same commandments and therefore implying they are gradually adopting the relativistic perception of morality.

Relativistic morality is also a good way of defining morality because people are generally different and devoted to different cultures and traditions. Although the theory of relativity morality creates ambiguity to what is universally considered right, at least it can help in promoting justice, which is part of morality in the society. For example, according to the Christian believe, morality states that men should be married to one wife otherwise they will be committing the sin of adultery. The strict followers of the religion will enforce this as part of the morality no only in the church but also in the daily living of the followers. This is a non-consequentialist theory where morality is defined by divine command. On the other, Muslim men are permitted to by their religion to marry a maximum of four wives and therefore subjecting them to the moral definition according to the divine command will be infringing their rights. The draw back for the relativistic morality is its vulnerability to moral erosion over time because with the new generation redefining the do and don’ts, the result will be tolerance of immorality[5].





















Works cited:

Peter French , Theodore, Uehling, and Howard, Wettstein. Studies in Ethical Theory. Midwest studies in philosophy, v. 3. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980. Print.

Geisler, Norman, and Ryan, Snuffer. Love Your Neighbor: Thinking Wisely About Right and Wrong. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007. Print.

Odell, Jack . On Consequentialist Ethics. Wadsworth philosophical topics. Southbank, Vic., Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004. Print.

[1] Peter French and Theodore Uehling and Howard Wettstein. Studies in ethical theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980), 213.

[2] Norman Geisler and Ryan Snuffer. Love your neighbor: Thinking wisely about right and wrong  (Wheaton, Ill:  Crossway Books, 2007), 319-321.


[3] Jack Odell, On consequentialist ethics (Wadsworth philosophical topics. Southbank, Vic., Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004), 17.

[4] Norman Geisler and Ryan Snuffer. Love your neighbor: Thinking wisely about right and wrong  (Wheaton, Ill:   Crossway Books, 2007), 311.


[5] Jack Odell. On consequentialist ethics (Wadsworth philosophical topics. Southbank, Vic., Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004), 23-25.

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