On Teleological Definitions

Teleological approaches put the goal first and derive the appropriate frameworks, formalisms, and means to achieve the goal.

The ethical paradigms have been defined by the top-level goal that motivates the approach. The framework used can then be generalized and tweaked into different theories within the paradigm. I believe it’s important to note the teleological inspirations, which are often implicitly assumed when working with the frameworks. On this wiki, I will prefer formalistic definitions as they seem more general and capable of accommodating changes in goal formulations.

  • A goal of consequentialist utilitarianism is “the greatest good for the greatest number”1Which is debated, with Bentham advocating “the less difference between the two unequal parts”.
    • Generally, “the best possible consequences”, can be an overarching goal.
  • A goal of virtue ethics is eudaimonia: to live a good life of “good spirit”, the pursuit of which leads to developing virtues.
  • A goal of Kantian deontology is to attain the Kingdom of Ends composed of rational beings who live by common, universal laws2This fits the normative ideal of codes of conduct that all rational people will put forth..
  • The goal of attaining social coordination for the benefit of all involved can fuel multiple paradigms.


Formally, a top-level moral goal can be defined within the respective framework.