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Explain Kants understanding of universal maxims. Can they be applied to Euthanasia?

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Introduction

´╗┐Explain Kant?s understanding of universal maxims (25). Kant believed that to get to a universal maxim you must first do as God asks you to. He therefore believed in ?duty for duty?s sake? He believed that the only acceptable reason for putting good will into action was a sense of duty. Good will + duty = a moral action. He defined an action of good will is only good when a person acts from a sense of good will. Foe example you should go and see your gran because it is your duty and not because you are being bribed by your mother. He said ?Good will shines forth like a precious jewel? Kant also had a theory that ?ought implies can? This comes into play in moral situations. It is like your conscience and it ?taps? you on the shoulder to say ?hey! You can help here? For example helping an elderly lady across the road. You think ?I ought to help her?, therefore you can help her and you should help her. ...read more.

Middle

The categorical imperative tells us which actions are forbidden and which ones we should always do. It also helps us to find universal maxims. Universal maxims are rules that come from the categorical imperative that should be followed by everyone everywhere and at all times. Once we have established these rules we have been morally good. Therefore we should reach a summum bonum. Summum mean virtuous behaviour (moral acts) and bonum means happiness. A summum bonum is the supreme good according to Kant. We pursue this through moral behaviour. Following on from this approach, Kant postulated three things that were necessary for his theory to work, but which rationally must exist. 1. We must be free to be able to make decisions. 2. There must be immortality of our souls for us to be able to achieve the summum bonum. 3. God must exist in order to be a fair judge to bring us to the afterlife or not. These three postulates lead to morality which then leads us to God. Therefore Kant?s idea of universal maxims is that if we follow the set of moral rules (universal maxims) ...read more.

Conclusion

Also if we do constantly put duty above everything else it could lead to an outcome where the person suffers so much that you feel guilty and end up helping them anyway which you could get in trouble for. Also as Kant?s theory is deontological it only focuses on the action been taken but the outcome may be more important as the person could no longer be in pain. It is also human nature to consider the principles before acting. If our duty is influenced by upbringing and society we may have our view on Kant?s theory and are either really against it or love it either way if somebody we love is suffering and they want it to be stopped, we would all try and help them as much as we could as we have a lot of emotion inside of us which sometimes overrules our ?duty?. Overall universal maxims help everyone see that euthanasia could be right if the person is suffering a lot. However some people would think it is right and some people would think it is wrong. Fro Kant, however, it would always be wrong as ?duty for duty?s sake? it is your duty to be ill and to die when God wants you to. ...read more.

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