From the Greek telos, meaning "end," a type of ethical theory that evaluates human actions according to their final causality or ultimate end. As with consequentialism, all teleological theories emphasize a conception of the good as the source of moral value. Because of this similarity, many thinkers consider teleology in opposition to deontology as one of the two primary methodological categories of deductive ethics. Within this line of thought, consequentialism is often equated with teleology, rather than understood as merely one type of teleology. Some thinkers, however, more properly distinguish teleology from consequentialism. According to this line of thought, not all teleological theories conceive of the good as the maximization of valuable resulting states of affairs (as do all consequentialist theories). Rather, a teleological conception of the good can be one of human flourishing (as the final cause of human life), which assumes a particular view of human nature. In this sense, attaining the good may entail bringing about favorable resulting states of affairs, but the good itself also consists of activities that are valuable in and of themselves, i.e., independently of their consequences. For example, contemplation may be considered a valuable activity even if it does not maximize a desirable resulting state of affairs.
Similarly, some teleological conceptions of the good may entail performing actions that one has a duty to perform, regardless of their consequences. Further, the conception of the good in some teleological theories may require not performing certain actions simply because they are contrary to the good, and we may therefore have an obligation to avoid performing these actions under all circumstances. Some interpretations of Natural Law are examples of teleological theories of this type. Understood in this broad sense, teleology is a distinct method that could include elements of both consequentialism and deontology, while the latter methods remain in opposition. Teleological theories are often criticized for depending too much on fact-based propositions and committing the "Naturalistic Fallacy" (which claims that one cannot logically deduce a normative conclusion from a statement of fact).