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'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty.' Explain how Kant analysed this concept.

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Introduction

Charlotte Martin a) 'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty.' Explain how Kant analysed this concept. 'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty' implies, to quote F.H. Bradley, that duty should be done for 'duty's sake', and not for any consequential events. This approach to action is deontological, and concentrates solely on the process of an action (its means), not its possible outcome (its end). Immanuel Kant's philosophy was based on deontological ethics- the idea that an action's claim to being right or wrong is independent of the consequences of that action. He believed that the consequences of an action offered no guide as to whether or not that action was moral, and was totally opposed to taking the consequences of an action into account. He wanted to develop a theory of ethics that relied on reason, as opposed to emotion- a theory that was universal, and could not be obscured by religion or personal interpretation. Kant took both rationalism and empiricism, and examined the good points of each. He thought that rationalists claimed too much for reason, and the empiricists emphasised sense experience too much. He thought that all our knowledge of the world comes from sensation, but our reason determines how we perceive the world around us. ...read more.

Middle

He believed this reward does not appear in this world, yet it must exist, otherwise we would not have a sense of duty. Kant concluded that we must look beyond this life. He believed the experience of a sense of moral law leads to our awareness of freedom, which becomes apparent when we make moral choices. These moral choices are independent of any thought of consequence, and Kant believed acting morally to be an end in itself. As Kant believed our duty was to make moral decisions and abide by moral law, he therefore believed duty not to be a means to an end, but an end in itself. Duty is an end that is known innately and instinctively. Kant therefore, came to the conclusion that 'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty', as duty is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. b) 'Categorical Imperatives allow no room for compassion in the treatment of women wanting abortions'. Discuss The categorical imperative is the idea that one should 'Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law'- Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason. It is a command without conditions, and enforces that, for an action to be good it must stand up to the universal maxim test (above), and be suitably universalisable. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is using one human as a means to a desired end, and is strictly counter to the rules of the categorical imperative. Kant believed that the value of a human comes from their rational, reasonable being. The suffering, or in this case the end of the life of an individual, could never be justified by the fact that a greater number of people benefit. The implications of this principle are that any activity that denies the individual dignity of a human being in order to achieve its end is undeniably wrong. The idea of abortion and the termination of human life are contradictory to the absolute fundamental points of the categorical imperative- that human life is priceless, and that humans should never be treated as a means to an end, as they are an end in themselves. The action of an abortion is denying a human life of all dignity, value, and is certainly treating humanity as a means to the end of a childless life. Kant, and the categorical imperative therefore show absolutely no room for compassion in the treatment of women wanting abortions, as, even though, for example, the mother may not be a suitable parent, or the child's quality of life may be poor, under no circumstances, according to the principles of the categorical imperative, compassion can be allowed for women wishing to murder another human, denying them their worth, and using them as a means to an end. ...read more.

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