Subject: ethics-theory of morality

Deontological or nonconsequentialist theories of morality are based on something other than the consequences of a person^Rs actions. If egoism and utilitarianism are both concerned with the consequences or outcomes of human actions, the deontological or nonconsequentialist theory believes that consequences do not, and in fact should not, enter into judging whether actions or people are moral or immoral. Actions are to be judged solely on whether they are right and people solely on whether they are good, based on some other standard or standards or morality. That is, acts or people are to be judged moral or immoral regardless of the consequences of their actions. The most of this example of such a theory is the divine command theory. If one believes that there is God, goddess or gods and that He/She or they have set up a series of moral commands, then the action is right and people are good if and only if they obey these commands, regardless of the consequences that might ensue.

For example, Joan of Arc was acting under the instructions of what she felt to be voices from God. Egoists would probably consider her martyrdom not to have been in her own self-interests; they would be concerned about the consequences of her actions (her torture and death) in refusing to deny the voices. The Divine Command theorist, however, would stay that one should obey God and His commandments as relayed to human beings (through voices or any other means) regardless of the consequences simply because God is all-good and has told us that is we should do. What is good and what is right is what God has stated is good and right. That the consequences might involve the loss of life, for example, has nothing to do with the morality or immorality of the act or a person. One must simply accept whatever consequences come about. This is probably the clearest example of a deontoligical or nonconsequentialist theory of morality but it is not the only one, nor need such a theory be based on the existence of God or gods.