Deontologists judge the morality of their actions in accordance to how those actions adhere to the rules (Hursthouse, 2010), without regard to consequences or other external factors (Fox and Demarco, 2001). In this case, the rule was that the students must submit the assignment on that particular day, and no later. As such, the teacher has no choice but to record Sean's work as un-submitted. There is an inherent duty to comply with the rules (Waller, 2005) from the deontological viewpoint, which overrides any mitigating circumstances; as justification for their actions are based on what is permissible and what is wrong (Blackburn, 2003).
This is not to say the teacher would not have granted Sean with an extension had Sean had a plausible reason as to why he was unable to submit his work, as the rules do allow for extensions under certain circumstances. Sean however did not offer such reasons, thus the ability for the teacher to give him an extension is not available. Although such action may compromise the overall grade Sean achieves, this would not phase the actions of a deontologist. This is not to say however that the decision to take such action would come easily, as personal feelings are morally neutral (Billington, 1993) and may contrast with the course of action taken.
If the teacher had decided to grant Sean with an extension it coul...
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Hursthouse, R. Virtue ethics. The Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy (winter 2010). Zalta, E (ed). Accessed 3rd Jan 2012. Available at:
Israel, M and Hay, I. (2006) Ethical approaches pp.12-22 from Research Ethics for social scientists. London: Sage publication isbn 9781412903905
Mulgan, T. (2005) The demands of consequentialim. Oxford: University press.
Prichard, H. (1912) Does moral philosophy rest on a mistake? Mind vol 21 pp 21-37
Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2011) Consequentialism. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Zalta, E (ed.) Accessed 7 Jan 2012. Available at
Waller, B. (2005) Consider ethics: Theory, reading and contempory issues. New York: Pearson longman.
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