Essays on kantian ethics

As part of the Enlightenment tradition, Kant based his ethical theory on the belief that reason should be used to determine how people ought to act. No other virtue has this status because every other virtue can be used to achieve immoral ends the virtue of loyalty is not good if one is loyal to an evil person, for example. The good will is unique in that it is always good and maintains its moral value even when it fails to achieve its moral intentions.

Essays on kantian ethics

Consequentialism Because deontological theories are best understood in contrast to consequentialist ones, a brief look at consequentialism and a survey of the problems with it that motivate its deontological opponents, provides a helpful prelude to taking up deontological theories themselves.

Some consequentialists are monists about the Good. Other consequentialists are pluralists regarding the Good.

Moreover, there are some consequentialists who hold that the doing or refraining from doing, of certain kinds of acts are themselves intrinsically valuable states of affairs constitutive of the Good.

The Proceedings of the Friesian School

None of these pluralist positions erase the difference between consequentialism and deontology. For the essence of consequentialism is still present in such positions: However much consequentialists differ about what the Good consists in, they all agree that the morally right choices are those that increase either directly or indirectly the Good.

Consequentialism is frequently criticized on a number of grounds. Two of these are particularly apt for revealing the temptations motivating the alternative approach to deontic ethics that is deontology. The two criticisms pertinent here are that consequentialism is, on the one hand, overly demanding, and, on the other hand, that it is not demanding enough.

The criticism regarding extreme demandingness runs like this: All acts are seemingly either required or forbidden. On the other hand, consequentialism is also criticized for what it seemingly permits.

It seemingly demands and thus, of course, permits that in certain circumstances innocents be killed, beaten, lied Essays on kantian ethics, or deprived of material goods to produce greater benefits for others.

Essays on kantian ethics

Consequences—and only consequences—can conceivably justify any kind of act, for it does not matter how harmful it is to some so long as it is more beneficial to others. A well-worn example of this over-permissiveness of consequentialism is that of a case standardly called, Transplant.

A surgeon has five patients dying of organ failure and one healthy patient whose organs can save the five. In the right circumstances, surgeon will be permitted and indeed required by consequentialism to kill the healthy patient to obtain his organs, assuming there are no relevant consequences other than the saving of the five and the death of the one.

Immanuel Kant - Wikipedia

Likewise, consequentialism will permit in a case that we shall call, Fat Man that a fat man be pushed in front of a runaway trolley if his being crushed by the trolley will halt its advance towards five workers trapped on the track.

We shall return to these examples later on. Consequentialists are of course not bereft of replies to these two criticisms. This move opens up some space for personal projects and relationships, as well as a realm of the morally permissible.

It is not clear, however, that satisficing is adequately motivated, except to avoid the problems of maximizing. Nor is it clear that the level of mandatory satisficing can be nonarbitrarily specified, or that satisficing will not require deontological constraints to protect satisficers from maximizers.

On this view, our negative duty is not to make the world worse by actions having bad consequences; lacking is a corresponding positive duty to make the world better by actions having good consequences Bentham ; Quinton We thus have a consequentialist duty not to kill the one in Transplant or in Fat Man; and there is no counterbalancing duty to save five that overrides this.

Yet as with the satisficing move, it is unclear how a consistent consequentialist can motivate this restriction on all-out optimization of the Good. Yet another idea popular with consequentialists is to move from consequentialism as a theory that directly assesses acts to consequentialism as a theory that directly assesses rules—or character-trait inculcation—and assesses acts only indirectly by reference to such rules or character-traits Alexander Its proponents contend that indirect consequentialism can avoid the criticisms of direct act consequentialism because it will not legitimate egregious violations of ordinary moral standards—e.

The relevance here of these defensive maneuvers by consequentialists is their common attempt to mimic the intuitively plausible aspects of a non-consequentialist, deontological approach to ethics.

For as we shall now explore, the strengths of deontological approaches lie: In contrast to consequentialist theories, deontological theories judge the morality of choices by criteria different from the states of affairs those choices bring about.

The most familiar forms of deontology, and also the forms presenting the greatest contrast to consequentialism, hold that some choices cannot be justified by their effects—that no matter how morally good their consequences, some choices are morally forbidden.

On such familiar deontological accounts of morality, agents cannot make certain wrongful choices even if by doing so the number of those exact kinds of wrongful choices will be minimized because other agents will be prevented from engaging in similar wrongful choices.

For such deontologists, what makes a choice right is its conformity with a moral norm. Such norms are to be simply obeyed by each moral agent; such norm-keepings are not to be maximized by each agent.[tags: Morality Ethics Kant Philosophy Essays] Good Essays words | ( pages) | Preview. Kant's Theory of Deontology and Euthanasia - I am going to apply the theory of Kant’s Deontology to the case regarding assisted suicide for psychological suffering.

Support Aeon

Based on Kant’s theory, I have found suicide morally unjust. Virtue ethics is one of three major theories in normative ethics, the other two being deontological ethics and consequentialism (or utilitarianism).It holds the cultivation of moral character and embodiment of virtues as the essential issues in ethics, rather than the establishment of rules based on duties (deontological ethics) or consequences (consequentialism).

John Rawls (—) John Rawls was arguably the most important political philosopher of the twentieth century. He wrote a series of highly influential articles in the s and ’60s that helped refocus Anglo-American moral and political philosophy on substantive problems about what we ought to do.

Ethics essay – Kantian ethics a.) Explain Kant’s concept of duty Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who was concerned with producing an ethical theory that was logical and absolute, and did not change depending on the situation, countering the views of .

Essays on kantian ethics

Free ethical theory papers, essays, and research papers. Ethics on the battlefield The soldier in battle is confronted with agonising, even impossible, ethical decisions. Could studying philosophy help?

How philosophy helped one soldier on the battlefield | Aeon Essays