Deontological ethics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L015-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2011
Retrieved June 15, 2024, from

2. Duties of special relationship

Many of our duties do, however, stem from special commitments to others. Some commitments are explicitly undertaken, such as promising. Some are tacit – as in commitments to friends. Some are not voluntarily acquired – consider commitments to parents. Like constraints, the responsibilities that come with relationships can curtail our freedom of action even when we could maximize the good by shirking them. According to many deontologists there will be cases in which you should, say, keep a promise even though you could do more good if you broke it. Duties of special relationship differ from constraints in that they are owed, by their very nature, only to those to whom we stand in such relationships, whereas there are constraints against torturing or unjustly killing anyone.

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

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