Teleological foundational theories all begin with the claim that the ultimate basis of normative ethics lies in terms of the significance of some central good or goods. Despite the fact that different teleological theories go on to appeal to different goods, this exclusive concern with the (relevant) good suffices to give teleological theories something of a common structure.
In contrast, deontological foundational theories as a group have rather little in common (see 6.1). They do, of course, all share the thought that teleological approaches are inadequate: the relevance of the basic normative factors, they hold, cannot ultimately be explained solely in terms of such an exclusive appeal to the good; other fundamental concepts must be brought in as well (or instead). As we shall see, however, there is such divergence among deontological foundational theories concerning what exactly the relevant further concepts are, and what the ultimate explanation should look like, that the resulting theories form a rather strikingly heterogeneous group.
Of course, as I've previously noted, the suggestion is sometimes made that what unites deontological foundational theories is the fact that they all yield deontology at the factoral level as well. But as we have already seen, even teleological foundational theories can -- if properly spelled out -- support factoral deontology. And in any event, as we shall soon see, it is far from obvious that the foundational theories typically thought of as deontological do indeed always support deontology at the factoral level.
In short, other than the common rejection of teleology at the foundational level, there is, I think, nothing significant that unites the various forms of foundational deontology. Inevitably, then, the various deontologi
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Publication information: Book title: Normative Ethics. Contributors: Shelly Kagan - Author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 240.
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