- Ethical theories broadly based on the idea that what matters (or ought to matter) in moral discourse is categorical - it's either right or wrong. A typical form is any moral theory based on the idea of 'doing one's duty'. This approach is especially associated with Immanuel Kant. 'Lying is always wrong, even if it has good consequences' has characteristic deontological tones. It is very remote from most economic theorizing about what is 'good' for societies, which is generally calculating, consequentialist and allows trade-off s. The use of ' need ' by non-economists often seems deontological. (Note that the root of the word is the Greek for 'it is binding on' not 'deus', the Latin word for 'god'.) Cf. Utilitarianism.