Volume 10, 2018
Yiouli I. Papaioannou
Deontology or consequantialism?
An Intertemporal Dispute in Light of Contemporary Science
One of the most important dispute in the history of philosophy is the conflict between the proponents of deontology who claim that our choices must be guided and assessed of what we ought to do, and the supporters of consequentialism who maintain that choices are to be morally assessed solely by the states of affairs they bring about. Today, the interest in this conflict has increased dramatically because of the recent scientific advances which present evidence that consequentialism, in comparison to deontology, is the best approach to morality.
In particular, according to recent scientific findings, the moral assessment of our choices and actions grounded on consequences and results is more rational than the moral assessment grounded on duties and intentions. In an interesting study of the way in which brain process moral dilemmas, researchers found significant differences in the neural processes of subjects, depending upon whether they were considering moral dilemmas in relation with their consequences or with duties and intentions. Our moral responses in relation to consequences seem to evolve under more rational brain processes than morals responses which emerge from a sense of duty.
However, a more assiduous consideration of the philosophical concepts of duty/intention and of consequences demonstrates that it is impossible to establish morality without taking into consideration both of the notions of intention and consequences.