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Give an account of Kants theory of ethics.

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Introduction

Give an account of Kant's theory of ethics. [33] Immanuel Kant's was a German philosopher during the eighteenth century. His theory of ethics is deontological, 'deon' meaning duty. Therefore, the basic of the ethic is duty. Kant said that morality must be completely self-contained and independent from any other view and he believed that this morality could only be found in a priori reason, (priori meaning before experience). This is a reasoning, which establishes basic principles. In the sense of duty, acting out of self-interest is wrong for Kant. For example, being honest because doing so helps your business, or acting out of love or sympathy is insufficient. This is acting to satisfy yourself and therefore it is a selfish act. Inclinations or desires are therefore not complete as you are being self-interested rather than moral. Kant said that only morality motivated by itself could satisfy him. You have to be moral, purely because being moral is the right thing to do. Kant believed that you command yourself to act morally, innately. ...read more.

Middle

It also assumes that everyone is equal. In his second imperative, Kant said you must act as if you were a law-making member of in a kingdom of ends. And that you shouldn't pursue moral rules that assume others are not going to behave morally. In his last imperative, Kant said that all people have to be regarded as valuable and should not be used as a means to an end. Furthermore, according to Kant, our behaviour is determined from the point of view of an external observer but we experience ourselves as being free. Therefore, although we are free in thought, our choices and moral decisions are determined for us already. In conclusion, Kant's theory and Categorical Imperatives are absolute in that in order to be moral and make moral decisions, one must do so out of duty and goodwill. Also, any decisions that are come to are made autonomously and should be made for everyone to follow, in that situation, anywhere they are. How helpful would this theory be when faced with the question of abortion? ...read more.

Conclusion

Kant discourages the fact that the end should be thought of when making a moral decision but can the future result be forgotten when deciding? Also, how can someone know that they've made the correct decision out of duty and goodwill when the outcome is bad? In conclusion, this theory in relation to abortion would not be classed as helpful, because the end result of the baby should be thought of when making a decision, as it too is a person. If the mother was too young to look after and bring up a child then adoption could be considered for the benefit of the child and the mother who would perhaps in the end be both deprived; the mother of a childhood and the child of full care and love. So, the best thing to do should be an act of love and care, not of duty. Also, using the above criticisms, the decision of what to do when contemplating abortion should not be made universal, because each situation within it will be slightly different and the doctor's opinions and feelings on what is classed as duty may be different. Elle Graham Kant - Deontology essay ...read more.

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