Aksjologiczne i deontyczne normy moralne

Tadeusz Czeżowski

Axiological and Deontological Moral Norms

Among ethical norms teleological and formal ones are distinguished. The former admit that a behaviour which tends to a realisation of a moral Good is ethical, and the latter determine an ethical behaviour as consonant to a norm. Teleological norms determine a behaviour showing its purpose, and the formal norms emphasize the relation to other people as their characteristics. The former determine a duty through the Good, the latter instead adopt the concept of duty as primordial. Therefore, the former may be called axiological norms and the latter deontic ones. The deontic norms are either egalitarian, when they contain a postulate of equal rights: what I should have, under certain conditions, the same should have everybody when he fulfils these conditions, or elitarian, when they deny the postulate of egalitarism and grant larger rights to some chosen individuals (individual elitarism) or to some groups (group elitarism) to a detriment of others. A possible third situation, when the rights of other people are considered to be above our owns can be connected with any of the two mentioned. A full system of norms should determine both a complex of Goods being aims of an ethical action and behaviour towards other individuals. It must contain, therefore, both axiological and deontic norms. In various ethics, in which only norms of one kind are specified, norms of the second kind are included in the former.

When introducing moral norms, both axiologists and deontics have motivated them with regard to psychology, but, generally, they have neglected their investigation from the ethical point of view. The reason was that their logical character could not be determined in default of a sufficiently elaborated logical analysis.

The axiological norms are reduced to moral valuations among which are distinguished, as elementary, particular valuations expressed in individual cases. They are formed in the same way as perceptive opinions under a condition that a valuative attitude has been adopted (corresponding to the attitude of attention during perceptions). Sentences in which these valuations are formulated have a similar structure to observational sentences relating to the nature. The difference between them consists in the fact that in the observational sentences an existence is stated, whereas in the valuative sentences (valuations) a value of an object is determined. The value, similarly as existence, belongs to so called transcendentalia, i.e. to predicates which do not determine the subject of a sentence, since they are not presented in ideas or conceptions, but can be merely predicated in sentences. Such valuations, similarly as observative sentences, can be verified through repetition and reasoning per analogy, as well as generalized through induction in cases when elementary valuations are repeating, and they attribute a value to things, properties, or events of the same kind. Such generalizations provide criteria of a moral Good. These are descriptive characteristics which qualify their objects as morally good. However, criteria of the Good cannot be identified with the Good (value) itself. An identification if them is called, a naturalistic error. Elementary valuations and their generalizations are empirically founded, in the same way as the observative sentence relating to the nature, but with the difference that their justification takes reference to a peculiar axiological empiricism. In the same way axiological norms, determined by valuations, are justified. The ethics based on axiological norms has, therefore, an analogic structure to that of empirical theory. Their premisses are elementary valuations from which general rules (ethical principles) result by induction. They provide criteria of the Good and with their help the axiological norms are formulated.

From the point of view of the logical analysis, deontic norms are conceived as axioms of an ethical system which define morality as an primordial term of the system. An ethical system based on them is a hypothetic-deductive system representing an abstractive model of a society in which it is valid. The relation of this ethic to behaviours in the society in which it rules is similar to the relation between a physical theory and a complex of facts described by this theory. Such a theory is idealized, describes facts approximatively, and admits, within certain iimits, divergences with the theory, but does not cease being obligatory when is kept within these limits. The same happens in the deontic ethic. In a hypothetic-deductive system the truth of its assertions is relativized to a system, called, according to Kant, a formal truth. Norms of the deontic ethic maintain in the system their formal truth, or validity, in spite of the fact that in cases of their transgressing they will be deprived of their material truth in the sphere of their application which is called a semantic model ,of the system. The difference between these two kinds of the truth is difference of syntactic category. The distinction of axiological and deontic moral norms is a particular case of a more general distinction, viz. that of theories constructed in an upward direction, i.e. empirical ones, or in a downward direction, i.e. hypothetic-deductive ones. The above distinction runs in various forms in many fields of the scientific investigations, among them also in the ethics.