The Magus Essay

In this paper I want to show the importance of the distinction between Deontological theories and
Teleological theories. First, let me define the basic types of deontological theories: Act-deontology takes
the rightness of an act as having to be decided by the individual on the basis of what the particular situation
demands of him or her. Rule-deontology takes the rightness of an act as having been already decided by
universal rules which are binding on everyone, regardless of the situation. Teleological theories: Act-
utilitarianism takes the rightness of an act as having to be decided by the individual on the basis of what
will promote the greatest general good in the individual’s particular situation and Rule-utilitarianism takes
the rightness of an act as being in accord with the general rules, binding on everyone, that have already
been decided on as promoting the greatest general good. Second, I will give my opinion on The Magus by
John Fowles. In conclusion we will !
see if the consequences are moral or immoral.
The first case to analyze will be the one about Conchis-the mayor of a small Greek village. He was ordered
by the Nazi Commandant to beat to death three freedom fighters who had shot four German soldiers. If he
refused, the Germans would kill not only the freedom fighters, but also the villagers hostages. Let’s look at
situation through the eyes of a utilitarian, then through the eyes of a deontologist. Conchis was in a very
difficult position that he has to decide what he should do with the ordered with in thirty-seconds, which is a
very short period of time. He is probably confused and frustrated and not sure of what is right or wrong
thing to do. As the Wimmel approached him with a gun. He aimed at the three freedom fighters. He pulled
the trigger of the gun, but the gun was not loaded. His determination is not to increases the possibility for
the German to harm the villagers. It seems that happiness for the German would mean trouble for the
villagers. As he aimed at the!
three men, his thought was to save the villager hostages. According to the story, Conchis wants to save as
many people as possible. I would describe his deportment as Rule Utilitarianism. People own what they
would own under the ‘total’ set of rules, of which would be the greatest good of each and most efficient. 1
His conscience is do what saves the most people. What if he did not follow the order? Will everyone still
live even if he doesn’t follow? Maybe by following the order he will be preventing the German use of force,
or causes extreme human suffering. I did not choose Act-utilitarianism because Conchis-the mayor did not
want to promote the greatest good in the individual as himself in this situation. His knowledge was to bring
happiness to people.He follow rules that is all obeyed then should bring about in the long term the
greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. Suppose that sacrificing life or bodily integrity,
where making the sacrifice wo!
uld be value, is itself in each interest. Among the things that Act-utilitarianism requires is putting up with,
indeed getting oneself to positively welcome, that other is also do what act utilitarianism requires lest anger
lead to resentment, and resentment to wrongful, action, and wrongful action to a decrease in value. For the
Utilitarian: The results are what matter.

I would described Wimmel, the Nazi commandant action is Act-deontology. He is violating his moral
convictions against total being. Secondly, his action cannot be justified universally. The Nazi commandant
was not foreseeing the idea of human rights is a moral one. Act-deontology was morally wrong, but
Wimmel determined that Conchis take the ordered or all of them will die which make it harder for him to
choose whether to kill the freedom fighters or the villagers including him self will be killed by the German.
However, the Rule-deontology was pointed out that it’s wrong to kill. Conchis realized that his previous
action was immoral. When he heard the prisoner call for freedom and saw the way these men had been
tortured, he couldn’t kill them. His knowledge repeatedly told him he was wrong, but his total being still
tells him he was right. At his point he gave up. Although ultimately these are formally equivalent, the first
illustrates the need for moral principles to be uni!
versalizable. The second points to the radical distinction to be made between right or wrong and persons,
and emphasizes the necessity of respect for persons. According to Deontologist: The act is what matters,
therefore, when people do something quick they don’t really have a chance to justify the means of values
There are no absolute right and wrongs, everything is relative. I don’t know if I should judge morality by
examining the nature of actions or rather goal of achieved. As Kant said: We praised or blamed for actions
within our control, and that includes our willing, not our achieving. 2 As far as the moral evaluation of our
actions was concerned, consequences did not matter. Conchis-the mayor got put into a difficult situation
and consequences are irrelevant in determining moral correctness of an action. It is the action itself not the
result, that is good or bad. When Conchis takes the ordered and trigger the freedom fighters, his reason has
repeatedly told him he was wrong and his total being tells him he was right. Individual human rights are
acknowledged and inviolable. We need not consider the satisfaction of harmful desires in our moral
deliberations. Moral dilemmas are created when duties come in conflict, and there is no mechanism for
solving them. Conflicting duties, !
however, may require that I perform logically or physically incompatible actions, and failure to do any one
is itself a moral wrong.

1) Judith Jarvis Thomson, The Realm of Rights: Second Property (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press. 1990) 332
2) Immanuel Kant, Notes on Deontology (unpublish document)
1) Gewirth, Alan. Human Rights: Essays on Justification and Applications. Chicago: The University of
Chicago Press, 1982.

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2) Wilson, James Q. The Moral Sense. New York: New York, 1993.

3) Wilson, James Q., and Richard J. Hernstein. Crime and Human Nature. New York: Simon ; Schuster.


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