Deontological ethics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L015-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2011
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

References and further reading

  • Broad, C. D. (1930) Five Types of Ethical Theory, London: Routledge.

    (Contains useful chapters on Butler and Kant, who are in the deontological tradition, and on Sidgwick, who is a consequentialist. Chapter 7 discusses various options for ethical theory and briefly describes Broad’s own deontological view.)

  • Broad, C. D. (1971) ‘Self and Others’, inBroad’s Critical Essays on Moral Philosophy, ed. D. Cheney, London: George Allen & Unwin, 262–282.

    (A clear discussion of the merits and demerits of Ethical Egoism, Ethical Neutralism (which is Broad’s name for consequentialism) and what Broad calls self-referential altruism, which stresses that there are duties of special relationship.)

  • Butler, J. (1736) ‘A Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue’, appendix toThe Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, London: George Bell & Sons, 1902.

    (A short and pithy summary of Butler’s broadly deontological position..)

  • Dancy, J. (1993) Moral Reasons, Oxford: Blackwell, chs 10–12.

    (A challenging, idiosyncratic defence of a particularist form of deontology that incorporates permissions, duties of special relationship, and constraints, but denies (as against Ross and Kant) that there are any moral principles. A tough read in parts.)

  • Darwall, S. (1986) ‘Agent-centered Restrictions from the Inside Out’, Philosophical Studies 50: 291–319.

    (A lucid and stimulating attempt to defend the broadly Kantian project of showing that constraints can be justified if we start with the considerations that should weigh with a person of good character.)

  • Darwall, S. (2003) Deontology, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (A very useful collection containing extracts from Kant, Ross, Nagel, and Nozick, and Darwall(1986).)

  • Davis, N. (1993) ‘Contemporary Deontology’, in P. Singer (ed.) A Companion to Ethics, Oxford: Blackwell, 205–218.

    (An accessible discussion of deontologists, such as Fried, who believe in absolute constraints.)

  • Finnis, J. (1983) Fundamentals of Ethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    (A defence of a broadly Roman Catholic approach to ethics.)

  • Foot, P. (1985) ‘Utilitarianism and the Virtues’, Mind 94: 196–209.

    (Defends constraints by attacking the idea, at heart of consequentialism, that we can make sense of the idea that there is always some state of affairs that is the best.)

  • Fried, C. (1978) Right and Wrong, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    (A readable and vigorous defence of a deontology that incorporates absolute constraints.)

  • Gert, B. (2005) Morality, New York: Oxford University Press.

    (A broadly deontological theory that maintains that there is no obligation to be beneficent, although beneficence is a moral ideal..)

  • Hill, T. (2006) ‘Kantian Normative Ethics’, in D. Copp (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 480–514.

    (A helpful exploration of both the attractions and the difficulties of Kant’s moral theory.)

  • Kant, I. (1785) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. with notes by H. J. Paton, New York: Harper & Row, 1964.

    (A classic work of moral philosophy, which defends absolute constraints. Some deny that Kant is a deontologist, but he certainly qualifies as a member of the tradition. Difficult but rewarding.)

  • McNaughton, D. (1988) Moral Vision, Oxford: Blackwell, chs 11, 13.

    (Defends a particularistic version of deontology.)

  • McNaughton, D. (1996) ‘An Unconnected Heap of Duties?’, Philosophical Quarterly 46 (185): 433–437.

    (Argues against the common objection that deontology, in the form advocated by Ross, cannot offer a systematic account of our duties.)

  • McNaughton, D. and Rawling, P. (1991) ‘Agent-relativity and the Doing–Happening Distinction’, Philosophical Studies 63: 167–185.

    (Discusses some difficulties in defining the difference between agent-neutrality and agent-relativity in terms of reasons. Suggests a formal way of making that distinction and then argues that consequentialism is an agent-neutral theory and deontology an agent-relative one. Slightly technical in parts.)

  • McNaughton, D. and Rawling, P. (2006) ‘Deontology’, in D. Copp (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 424–458.

    (A full-length discussion of the varieties of deontology, with an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.)

  • Nagel, T. (1986) The View from Nowhere, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ch. 9.

    (A fascinating attempt to find a place for constraints by appeal to the importance of the personal point of view.)

  • Nozick, R. (1974) Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (Argues that no-one can be required to help others, and defends constraints, which he calls ‘side-constraints’.)

  • Ross, W. D. (1930) The Right and the Good, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (The classic defence of a pluralist deontology is to be found in ch. 2.)

  • Scheffler, S. (1982) The Rejection of Consequentialism, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (Argues that permissions can be defended, but not constraints.)

  • Scheffler, S. (1985) ‘Agent-Centered Restrictions, Rationality, and the Virtues’, Mind 94: 409–419.

    (Denies that Foot (1985) has shown that constraints (which he calls ‘agent-centered restrictions’) are not paradoxical.)

  • Scheffler, S. (1988) Consequentialism and Its Critics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    (A very useful collection of seminal papers, including the articles by Foot, Railton and Scheffler, and extracts from Parfit and Williams.)

  • Scheffler, S. (1997) ‘Relationships and Responsibilities’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 26: 189–209.

    (Tries to meet two concerns about duties of special relationship, which he terms ‘associative duties’. First, how can they be binding when, as is the case with some, they are not voluntarily entered into? Second, are they not unfair, since they require people to give priority to the needs of their nearest and dearest, even though others may be in greater need?)

Citing this article:
McNaughton, David and Piers Rawling. Bibliography. Deontological ethics, 2011, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L015-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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