Sunday, 13 June 2004

From "Why Doesn't Batman Kill the Joker?"

By Mark D. White.

One way to state the difference between the utilitarian and the deontological approaches is to look at the types of rules they both prescribe. Utilitarianism results in agent-neutral rules, such as "Maximize well-being," and utilitarians couldn't care less who it is that will be following the rule. Everybody has to act so as to maximize well-being, and there is no reason or excuse for any one person to say "I don't want to." By contrast, deontology deals with agent-specific rules -- when deontologists say "Do not kill," they mean "You do not kill," even if there are other reasons that make it look like a good idea."

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