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Theory that derives duty from what is valuable as an end, in a manner diametrically opposed to deontological ethics. Teleological ethics holds that the basic standard of duty is the contribution that an action makes to the realization of nonmoral values. Teleological theories differ on the nature of the nonmoral goods that actions ought to promote. Eudaemonism emphasizes the cultivation of virtue in the agent as the end of all action. Utilitarianism holds that the end consists in the aggregate balance of pleasure to pain for all concerned. Other teleological theories claim that the end of action is survival and growth, as in evolutionary ethics (Herbert Spencer); power over others (Niccolò Machiavelli and Friedrich Nietzsche); satisfaction and adjustment, as in pragmatism (Ralph Barton Perry and John Dewey); and freedom, as in existentialism (Jean-Paul Sartre).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on teleological ethics, visit Britannica.com.
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