7
DEONTOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS

7.1 Contractarianism

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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Normative Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Preliminaries 1
  • Part One - Factors 23
  • 2 - The God 25
  • 3 - Doing Harm 70
  • 4 - Other Constraints 106
  • 5 - Further Factors 153
  • Part Two - Foundations 187
  • 6 - Teleological Foundations 189
  • 7 - Deontological Foundations 240
  • Suggested Readings 305
  • References 321
  • About the Book and Author 329
  • Index 331
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