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Failure to follow one's duty makes one immoral.In a deontological system, duties, rules, and obligations are determined by an agreed-upon code of ethics, typically those defined within a formal religion.Deontology (or Deontological Ethics) is the branch of ethics in which people define what is morally right or wrong by the actions themselves, rather than referring to the consequences of those actions, or the character of the person who performs them.
Yet, who is to say which ones should be abandoned and which are still valid?
And if any are to be abandoned, how can we say that they really were moral duties back in the 18th century?
It is also not enough to simply believe that something is the correct duty to follow.
Duties and obligations must be determined objectively and absolutely, not subjectively.
Nevertheless, a correct motivation alone is never a justification for an action in a deontological moral system.
It cannot be used as a basis for describing an action as morally correct.
Deontological ethics are thus ethics where the reasons for particular duties have been forgotten, even if things have completely changed.
A second criticism is that deontological moral systems do not readily allow for gray areas where the morality of an action is questionable.
Simply following the correct moral rules is often not sufficient; instead, one must have the correct motivations as well.
A deontologist is not considered immoral even though they have broken a moral rule, as long as they were motivated to adhere to some correct moral duty (and presumably made an honest mistake).