Is there a specific term for the theory of ethics which evaluates an action by comparing it to alternatives? I am aware of Deontological and Consequentialist theories, but if I understand correctly, they mainly serve to decide if a single action is ethical.

For example, if I were to act in a certain manner that was less moral than another whilst still achieving the same goal, is there some specific ethical theory which tells me why the latter is better?

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    Kantian Deontology is not about a single act, but about a single rule governing all acts that fit a given pattern. It is never correct, according to Kant, to do the right thing for the wrong reason, the underlying rule is what matters, and only the action motivated by the correctly chosen rule is moral. And it is impossible to choose the rule you will eventually generalize without first comparing it to alternatives. So Deontology already meets your condition. – user9166 Feb 20 '18 at 18:44

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