Teleological and Deontological Theories of Ethics Section I: Part B
Malloy (2003) “The cause of any behavior is a result of values, purposes, and ethical knowledge or ignorance. These three components and their interrelation have received relatively little attention in the debate to improve the state of sport. In other sectors, such as business, health, and law, the role of ethics has been much more thoroughly examined” WHY?
Review and Some New Ethics: “what we should do in a situation” Values: provide a background, result from a group, and explain “why we do what we do” Values can be: Instrumental: useful in conjunction with other values Terminal: an end itself Ex: parents value teamwork in sport (instrumental) b/c it develops social interaction skills important for their child’s career (instrumental), which leads to a happier life (terminal).
Teleological Ethics Greek words: “telos” (end) and “logos” (science) Theory of morality; derives duty or moral obligation from what is desirable as an end to be achieved Ends-oriented ethical inquiry Actions are morally good if their outcome is good “No harm, no foul” or school budget and sports
Teleological Theories Egoism: fulfillment of individualistic desires What makes you happy? Don’t deny one’s own interests Player’s salaries, where to move a franchise, what to charge for admission Utilitarianism The only good worth pursuing is pleasure or happiness Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) tried to “qualify” pleasure/happiness
More on Utilitarianism… Utilitarian- ethical decisions based on a projected outcome that would bring about the most happiness for the greatest number of people Exemplified by John Stuart Mill’s idea of utility: Some “pleasures” are superior to others an action is right providing it maximizes human welfare. Happiness is good, utilitarianism is democratic Pursue “higher” pleasures (i.e. knowledge) Sport example: Title IX correct or incorrect?
A Teleological, Hypothetical Example The United States’ reputation in international basketball has declined over recent years As a result, patriotism (reflected in sport) has also declined Hypothetically: Carmello Anthony throws an elbow to prevent a dunk by the Spanish team (which changes momentum). His “foul” helped win the game (a means to an end), but was considered bad, within the context and spirit of the game.
Deontological Ethics Ethical theories that maintain the moral rightness or wrongness of an action depends on its “intrinsic” qualities and not on its consequences. Places an emphasis on the relationship between duty and the morality of human actions. Focuses on logic and ethics
“Deon” means duty Good things are not done because they produce good results (teleological ethics). Example: good sportsmanship after a game. You, theoretically, congratulate opposing players on their effort and how they played the game. You don’t do this because you want everyone to like you. Other examples in sport? Duke Lacrosse Sexual Assault Case
More Deontological Theories “The Golden Rule” One of the oldest ideas Predates Christianity Treat others how you would like to be treated. Focuses on altruism (selfless actions) Kantian Ethics 1724-1804 Moral behavior should lead to beneficial consequences for humanity
Kant: Universality Applied to all persons at all times Based on two accepted moral principles: 1) moral judgments must be based on universal rules that are applied to all persons equally 2) people must always be treated with “respect” Kant’s “categorical imperatives”: duties are independent of consequences
Categorical Imperatives Most of us live by rules much of the time. Hinman, 2006 Some of these are what Kant called Categorical Imperatives unconditional commands that are binding on everyone at all times. Example: “Always tell the truth”
Kant: in a “nutshell” Kant saw that morality must be fair and evenhanded equality The Kantian path offers a certain kind of moral safety in an uncertain world. Heavily applied in “business” ethics and “medical” ethics courses How useful is this in the sport management industry?
Metaethics: the last word! Loosely associated with deontologies. They explain normative views (which argue what is good and right) They include: Theories of justice Egalitarianism: equality and justice Libertarianism: fair rules and procedures How can Metaethics be applied to sport? MLB payrolls and NFL salary cap
Ethical Relativism Ethical Relativism is provides useful insights such as: The need for tolerance and understanding The fact of moral diversity We should not pass judgment on practices in other cultures when we don’t understand them Sometimes reasonable people may differ on what’s morally acceptable
Further Thought… Let’s look at the role that intimidation, competition, and sportsmanship play in sport. How would teleologists view: Intimidation Competition sportsmanship Which is a bigger influence: money or morality? SportBusiness Journal (2007)