• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Give an account of Kants theory of ethics.

Extracts from this document...

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Kants Ethical Theory

    Kants absolutist approach would not have allowed the killing of Hitler regardless of the circumstances 'one must not kill', but then looking back at it, it would have been a bad decision. So it is too rigid, deontological and absolute.

  2. Explain Kant's ethical theory

    should be a universal law, therefore if it would be wrong for someone else to act as you did in a certain situation, it is wrong for you also. Kant uses the example of keeping promises to demonstrate this; if a man borrows money and promises to pay it back

  1. Kant's theory of Ethics

    One may argue that this is a sensible decision but Kant would argue that even if the shopkeeper is not cheating her customers the action is still morally wrong because she is only doing it to achieve good consequences for herself.

  2. Compare Utilitarianism With Kant's Theory of The Categorical Imperative And Explain Which You Think ...

    Thus, you only ought to do something if it is possible for you to do so. Referring to the example of Jim (Jim is asked to kill one man or watch as all the men lined up are killed - the men are innocent of any crime and are going

  1. Examine the key features of situation ethics, and the main criticisms of it, and ...

    make decisions and judge the moral worth of something when not shackled by any laws. Barclay particularly emphasises that law ensures that humans do not make an artificial distinction between public and private morality, and was quoted as saying "A man can live his own life, but when he begins

  2. Explain Kant's Categorical Imperative.

    Kant (1785) The categorical imperative is "Do not act on any principle that cannot be universalised." If an action is right for someone, it is right for everyone. An example of this is, "Lying is wrong for everyone but if a man came to the door and asked if your

  1. Business Ethics

    "bogus profit" which their client company reported thereby inflating their income statement, rendering the balance sheet useless. In Malaysia, the cases involving Bumiputra Finance and Pan-Electric in the early 1970s demonstrate ethical conflicts faced by accountants. To this Mahfuzah et.

  2. With reference to the topic of abortion , examine and comment on the controversies, ...

    ?To decide which is the lesser of the two can mean genuine dilemma and pain which should not be minimised, but Christians need to face frankly the fact that in an imperfect world the ?right? choice is sometimes the acceptance of the lesser of two evils.? The doctrine of double

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work