Ethical consumerism

295 views 7 pages ~ 1779 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

The study will primarily focus on justifying the deontological approach as a superior and well-suited principle that appeals significantly to the ethical difficulties of ethical consumerism or ethical consumption since the principle emphasizes impartiality as it examines altruism and its wellbeing. In comparison to the utilitarian approach, this philosophy provides a deeper understanding of the canons of ethics in reference to ethical consumerism or consumption.

Ethical consumption is comprised of two fundamental words: ethics and consumption. Ethics is procedural behavior. Consumption has been defined by Warde as “the procedures whereby agents engross in annexation, whether for utilitarian, introspective or symbolic intents, of ambience, services, information, performances, commodities, services whether bought or not, over which agent has a degree of choice, preference or discretion”. From this contextual concept, consumption is regarded as an instance in virtually every conduct or practice and not the mere perception of just practice.

Ethical consumption will therefore infer to an assortment of stratagems, policies and debate where consumption is an intermediary for political and moral action and not an element, aspect or entity of moral examination. This is the prevailing sense in the context of fair trade campaigns, corporate social responsibility initiatives, ethical audits and consumer boycotts.

Deontological approach has risen as a powerful notion in the context of moral philosophy which has been viewed as an unconventional concept to the consequentialism or utilitarian code of beliefs. "Actions will tend to be right in proportion to the way they will endorse happiness, immoral if they yield the antithesis of happiness." Is how (Barrow 77) distinctively approached utilitarianism theory. Kent exemplified the deontology concept as “morality is the basis of moral obligations”. He asserts that “every individual has moral obligations to undertake what is right to do and not to carry out what is immoral or wrong to do. What is right or wrong doesn’t rely on the consequences or outcomes but depends on the actions that caused them to”. This leads to the second notion embodied by deontologists whereby they approached deontology on two point of views by Tenenbaum as “universal obligations or broad spectrum duties which mostly focused on embargoes such as do not steal, do not indulge in drugs etc. and personal or specific duties which constitute the social relationships e.g. I promise to pay you as”

The deontology theory is duty based approach as it delineates moral deeds in proportion to the way it promotes towards favored intentions such as happiness. With the publication of theory of justice grounded on deontological by John Rawls, the moral philosophy has undergone vicissitudes as intend establish a conventional approach towards utilitarian framework in regard to justice and ethics. He contended teleological conceptual approach obscured that it is “admissible to limit moralities of an individual or exploit them in the name of general utilitarian benefit”.

The philosophy largely disregards the peculiarity of individual and rather represent them as a plurality of values as to what institutes moral grounds. This is known as universalism. This means that the syndicated decisions of the whole society were in correspondence and predisposed by individual choices. Rawls played a significant role in underlining the magnitude of unity encompassed to endeavor syndicated outcomes or choices and glowing the spot light on plurality of personal values and its ethical stand so as to ensure meaning of communal right does not come at cost of the rudimentary personal autonomies.

Deontological considerations of moral duties and its aspects are outlined in the ethical consumerism. They frequently appeal exceedingly on the globalized disparities about the responsibilities or human accountability under the precautionary principle to care for environment, animals, people, plants or even imminent off springs and cohorts. It should be eminent that the philosophies on employee’s rights or humanitarian rights are core to many ethical consumer activism and movements tend to sturdily be induced to deontology ideologies. The deontological dogma essentially is deliberated as an opposite or pertinent in relation to ethical consumerism evaluation which are buoyed with pragmatic or experiential substantiation to propose that ethical consumption concept is fundamentally motivated and contrived by the sagacity of individual veracity.

Deontological approach as opposed to utilitarian

Among the great flaws discovered with the consequentialist or utilitarian approach is their comprehension of moral cognitive and rationality as they infer a person or individual ought to act in a custom that is comprehensive to syndicated outcomes but it overlooks what acting ethically means to others. This is contrary to deontologists who perceive that if everyone acted as altruists it would result to much worse and shoddier instead of better or improved. The altruists would implicate copious level of self-sacrifice that would consequently mitigate the total happiness of an individual. Deontologists continue to point out that applying utilitarian approach would mean being completely self-less which would include acting against numerous intentions which we accustomed or obligated when we exemplify care or concern which is not affiliated to people but also environment and its constituents (animals, vegetation etc.) .

The insinuation of this argument is that altering other people consumerism practices is undoubtedly neither preeminently endeavored by merely appealing an individual sense of self-sacrifice or philanthropy nor by assuming it necessitates an extensive relinquishment of self-interest concerns. It should be understood most principles based on activism that are core to many ethical consumerism or consumption campaigns are drawn resiliently towards deontological approach.

Since ethical consumerism addresses some aspects of deontological considerations on moral obligation as they vastly appeal to universalized concept of precautionary principle which is based on an individual’s moral obligation to concern others including future cohorts, the surroundings or environment, sentient creatures etc. a pragmatic approach and example of this statement can be observed through the deontological philosophy on global warming and they often argue on the subsequent outlines : they firstly recognize the contemporary energy consumption are catalyzing global warming with indefinite or anonymous but hypothetically catastrophic and cataclysmic outcomes on humanoid or anthropologic life support systems and on the second note the deontology believe that the contemporary society has a moral obligation to safeguard the next generations so as to acquire complete operational life supporting systems which leads to the third point that the contemporary humans have moral obligation to ominously mitigate energy consumption.

Counter arguments on deontological approach

A contemporary ideologist known for animal welfare activism, Peter Singer advocated for the consequentialists concept and utilitarian approach. His recognition is attributed for being divergent to the deontology perceptions intently defining ethics as “a system of rules”. He nominates the utilitarian approach as a “more pragmatic and logical approach” as bestowed in (Mulgan 366) publication, since cognitive perception or reason of the outcome would entail judgments of the actions that tend to rely on the circumstantial factors.

Many utilitarian ideologies will more so often support many ethical consumerism activities and movements because they view the ethical procedures and final decision made through logical algorithm as rudiments which include extensive research of information. Modern studies in milieu of consumerism are founded on pragmatic approaches in proportion to availability of information. The main objective outlined by consequentialists in regard to consumerism is there is an analogous procedure to what is considered “good” and what ethical practices ought to encompass and challenging consumers to espouse the necessary demeanor and behavior towards environment. An illustration to support consequentialism conception will through the anti-sweatshops campaigns that have been carried out in universities and campuses that protest the product due to their production process since they have exploited women and children in producing their products and an example is Nike. This has been possible since the campaign has aimed to change the perspectives of individual and society through provision of knowledge of spatially distant milieu that has been able to encourage people to take accountability of the products as outcomes and accept their responsibilities. This is a strong indication of vibrant calculations undertaken and the pursuit of knowledge to reach at a verdict on the outcome which once again has epitomized the ethical consumerism and consumer activism. The procedure has enabled consumer be aware of the practices and therefore the outcome as a dereliction on what constitutes ethical practices. Generally consequentialist are subjectively subtle which means that it does not account the value of a precise action to be dogged in advance by conventional rubrics or guidelines

It can also be exemplified through another rational approach that draws our attention on the food production ethical demeanor. This was palpable through lobbying of the growth of organic food, use of pesticides and BSE predicament which were not basically enthused by the deontologists which they found them to be vague trepidations for the next and generation the environment but are bounded with the confidentiality that the form of cares that silhouettes daily societal affairs of native family home and life. This will lead to regarding the long-term risks in health to the food that progenies are being offered by their parents.


“Ethical dilemma is a state or condition where the ethical doctrines and philosophies are facing controversial circumstances and subsequently they are conflicting which lead to ineffective confirmatory or affirmative action” this is according to (Solomon). They are different point of views from two moral edicts and principles which are believed to be veracious or erroneous. In an ethical impasse as postulated by (Carrington) studies “one is tasked with choosing one option and this will involve a process of justification or providing an account and representation of your cognitive perspective.”

In this paper, the approach proposed sides with the deontology ideology as opposed to utilitarian philosophy as the paper. It progressed in reviewing deontology philosophy in an overview and comprehensive level. This was significant so as to get an understanding what the philosophy necessitates and its implications and its relevant role towards ethical consumption frameworks. It has also evaluated some strategic points on why deontology is best suited philosophy that appeals substantially to the ethical problems of ethical consumerism or ethical consumption with pragmatic and rational real based scenarios. It was also critical to evaluate the counter arguments on the subject of ethical consumerism expressing consequentialism divergent view backed by a pragmatic approach.

Works Cited

Barrow, Robin. Utilitarianism: A contemporary statement. . Routledge, 2015.

Carrington, Michal J., Benjamin A. Neville, and Gregory J. Whitwell. "Lost in translation: Exploring the ethical consumer intention–behavior gap." Journal of Business Research 67.1 (2014): 2759-2767.

Kent, Michael L. "Paquette, Michael, Erich J. Sommerfeldt, and Do the ends justify the means? Dialogue, development communication, and deontological ethics." Public Relations Review 41.1 (2015): 30-39.

Mulgan, Tim. . Understanding utilitarianism. . Routledge, 2014.

Solomon, Michael R. Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being. Vol. 10. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 2014.

Tenenbaum, S. " Action, Deontology, and Risk: Against the Multiplicative Model. Ethics,." 127.3 (2017): 674-707.

May 10, 2023


Subject area:

Study Deontology Consumerism

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Consumerism
Verified writer

RiaSm02 is great for all things related to education. Sharing a case study that I could not understand for the life of mine, I received immediate help. Great writer and amazing service that won’t break the bank!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro