Uploaded by Emmanuel Mahenge

Definition of Terms - Utiliarianism, Deontology and Ontology

1. Algocracy
Government by algorithm is an alternative form of government or social ordering,
where the usage of computer algorithms, especially of artificial intelligence and
blockchain, is applied to regulations, law enforcement, and generally any aspect of
everyday life such as transportation or land registration.
Algocracy is the rule by algorithms
The rule by algorithms can be termed as algocracy, where algo- is derived from
algorithm and -cracy is ’rule’ in ancient Greek.
Algocracy is constrained to have a certain minimal level of technology and
industrialisation for production of data centres, communication infrastructure,
surveillance equipment, etc.. A sustainable algocracy, therefore, requires a sustainable
technosphere of certain minimal ecological footprint.
2. Utilitarianism
In normative ethics, a tradition stemming from the late 18th- and 19th-century English
philosophers and economists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill according to which
an action (or type of action) is right if it tends to promote happiness or pleasure and
wrong if it tends to produce unhappiness or pain—not just for the performer of the
action but also for everyone else affected by it.
Utilitarianism and other consequentialist theories are in opposition to egoism, the view
that each person should pursue his or her own self-interest, even at the expense of
others, and to any ethical theory that regards some actions (or types of action) as right
or wrong independently of their consequences
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that determines right from wrong by focusing on
outcomes. It is a form of consequentialism.
o Utilitarianism holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the
greatest good for the greatest number. It is the only moral framework that can
be used to justify military force or war. It is also the most common approach to
moral reasoning used in business because of the way in which it accounts for
costs and benefits.
o However, because we cannot predict the future, it’s difficult to know with
certainty whether the consequences of our actions will be good or bad. This is
one of the limitations of utilitarianism.
o Utilitarianism also has trouble accounting for values such as justice and
individual rights. For example, assume a hospital has four people whose lives
depend upon receiving organ transplants: a heart, lungs, a kidney, and a liver.
If a healthy person wanders into the hospital, his organs could be harvested to
save four lives at the expense of one life. This would arguably produce the
greatest good for the greatest number. But few would consider it an acceptable
course of action, let alone the most ethical one.
o So, although utilitarianism is arguably the most reason-based approach to
determining right and wrong, it has obvious limitations.
3. Deontology
Deontology is an ethical theory that uses rules to distinguish right from wrong.
Deontology is often associated with philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant believed that
ethical actions follow universal moral laws, such as “Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t
o Deontology is simple to apply. It just requires that people follow the rules and
do their duty. This approach tends to fit well with our natural intuition about
what is or isn’t ethical.
o Unlike consequentialism, which judges actions by their results, deontology
doesn’t require weighing the costs and benefits of a situation. This avoids
subjectivity and uncertainty because you only have to follow set rules.
o Despite its strengths, rigidly following deontology can produce results that
many people find unacceptable. For example, suppose you’re a software
engineer and learn that a nuclear missile is about to launch that might start a
war. You can hack the network and cancel the launch, but it’s against your
professional code of ethics to break into any software system without
permission. And, it’s a form of lying and cheating. Deontology advises not to
violate this rule. However, in letting the missile launch, thousands of people
will die.
o So, following the rules makes deontology easy to apply. But it also means
disregarding the possible consequences of our actions when determining what
is right and what is wrong.
o https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/glossary/deontology
In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical theory
that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or
wrong under a series of rules, rather than based on the consequences of the action.
Deontology is an ethical theory that says actions are good or bad according to a clear
set of rules.
o Its name comes from the Greek word deon, meaning duty. Actions that align
with these rules are ethical, while actions that don’t aren’t. This ethical theory
is most closely associated with German philosopher, Immanuel Kant.
o It’s worth mentioning that deontology is often seen as being strongly opposed
to consequentialism. This is because in emphasising the intention to act in
accordance with our duties, deontology believes the consequences of our
actions have no ethical relevance at all – a similar sentiment to that captured in
the phrase “Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall”.
o The appeal of deontology lies in its consistency. By applying ethical duties to
all people in all situations the theory is readily applied to most practical
situations. By focussing on a person’s intentions, it also places ethics entirely
within our control – we can’t always control or predict the outcomes of our
actions, but we are in complete control of our intentions.
o Others criticise deontology for being inflexible. By ignoring what’s at stake in
terms of consequences, some say it misses a serious element of ethical decisionmaking. De-emphasising consequences has other implications too – can it make
us guilty of ‘crimes of omission’? Kant, for example, argued it would be
unethical to lie about the location of our friend, even to a person trying to
murder them! For many, this seems intuitively false.
o One way of resolving this problem is through an idea called threshold
deontology, which argues we should always obey the rules unless in an
emergency situation, at which point we should revert to a consequentialist
o https://ethics.org.au/ethics-explainer-deontology/
4. Ontology
Ontology, at its simplest, is the study of existence. But it is much more than that, too.
Ontology is also the study of how we determine if things exist or not, as well as the
classification of existence. It attempts to take things that are abstract and establish that
they are, in fact, real. Ontology is a part of metaphysics, a branch of philosophy that
looks at the very nature of things, their being, cause, or identity.
Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as existence, being,
becoming, and reality. It includes the questions of how entities are grouped into basic
categories and which of these entities exist on the most fundamental level. Ontology is
sometimes referred to as the science of being and belongs to the major branch of
philosophy known as metaphysics.
Ontology concerns claims about the nature of being and existence. One of the longest
standing ontological questions in philosophy concerns the existence, or otherwise, of
God or at least some sense of a higher being. This has provided a springboard for
philosophers to question, among other things, the purpose of existence, the nature of a
priori reasoning, the meaning of sensory experience and what constitutes valid
argument. In the more down to earth world of social research thinking about ontology
refers to beliefs about the fundamental nature of reality, in particular social reality.
These beliefs are often discussed in terms of dichotomy (e.g. Bryman 2001) between,
on one hand, an objective reality which exists independent of the observer, and, on the
other, reality as it appears subjectively or, more commonly, as negotiated within
groups. The former typically comes under the banner of objectivist, realist or
foundationalist ontology, the latter an anti-positivist or anti-foundationalist ontology,
informed by constructivism or interpretivism. The anti-positivist position is, in our
experience, more widely held among those interested in social theory but this
generalisation does not necessarily hold across all countries, disciplines and indeed
across time.
a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being.
5. Metaphysics
a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and
being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of existence, being
and the world. Arguably, metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy: Aristotle calls
it "first philosophy" (or sometimes just "wisdom"), and says it is the subject that deals
with "first causes and the principles of things".
o It asks questions like: "What is the nature of reality?", "How does the world
exist, and what is its origin or source of creation?", "Does the world exist
outside the mind?", "How can the incorporeal mind affect the physical body?",
"If things exist, what is their objective nature?", "Is there a God (or many gods,
or no god at all)?"
o https://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_metaphysics.html
Today, the word ‘metaphysics’ is used more widely, for the branch of philosophy that
studies, in a very general way, what there is and how it is.
o https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/what-is-metaphysics/
Metaphysics acknowledges and respects the beauty in ALL of God’s Creation.
o Metaphysics is religion without dogma.
o Metaphysics does not explore religious beliefs and laws created by man, but
rather, it explores the immutable laws of nature, set by The Creator,
God/Universal Presence, in the creation of the Universe.
o Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate nature of
existence, reality, and experience without being bound to any one theological
doctrine or dogma.
o Metaphysics includes all religions but transcends them all.
o Metaphysics is the study of ultimate cause in the Universe.
o Metaphysics is the only science capable of inquiring beyond physical and
human science.
o https://metaphysics.com/what-is-metaphysics/