Single Idea 4113

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 1. Deontology]

Full Idea

There is no ancient Greek word for duty; the word 'deon' (the basis of 'deontology') means what one must do.

Gist of Idea

'Deon' in Greek means what one must do; there was no word meaning 'duty'


Bernard Williams (Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy [1985], Ch. 1)

Book Reference

Williams,Bernard: 'Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy' [Fontana 1985], p.16

A Reaction

Presumably it covered compulsions which were not duties, such as the need to eat or drink. Greeks thought morally, but lacked a good moral vocabulary?

Related Idea

Idea 497 Be virtuous from duty, not from fear [Democritus (attr)]