Ethics and Morality

What is a teleological ethical theory?

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12/10/2008

By Susan McPhail Wittjen, PT, PhD The word "teleology" is derived from the Greek word "telos" that means "ends." In this theory, you would consider the ends, or the outcomes of your decision. Since this theory is concerned about the consequences of the decision, it is also referred to as consequentialist. One of the most common branches of this theory is utilitarianism, which was discussed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill in the 19th century. A utilitarian considers an act right if it is useful in bringing about the best consequences overall. This theory can be utilized in clinical decision-making by first identifying what the dilemma entails and several alternative choices to solve it. Next you would predict what consequences would be associated with each alternative. You would then choose the solution that you believe would bring about the best possible consequence for the situation. Remember, in this theory "the means justify the ends." NEXT