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From Ancient Greek δέον (déon, that which is binding, needful, right, proper) + -logy. The specialised sense in normative ethics is due to C. D. Broad


deontology (usually uncountable, plural deontologies)

  1. (ethics) Ethics. [from c. 1826]
    • 1826, Jeremy West (Rev. VI. 448), (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Ethics has received the more expressive name of Deontology
    • 1834, Jeremy Bentham (of MSS), Bowring (1834), editor,(Please provide the book title or journal name), page 21:
      Deontology is derived from the Greek words, το δεον (that which is proper) and Λογια, knowledge — meaning the knowledge of what is right and proper; and it is here specially applied to the subject of morals, or that part of the field of action which is not the object of public legislation. As an art, it is the doing what is fit to be done; as a science, the knowing what is fit to be done on every occasion." Deontology or, The science of morality : in which the harmony and co-incidence of duty and self-interest, virtue and felicity, prudence and benevolence, are explained and exemplified
  2. (ethics) The normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to rules or obligations rather than either the inherent goodness or the consequences of those actions. [from 1930]

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