Kant 's Argument On Kantian Ethics Essay

Kant 's Argument On Kantian Ethics Essay

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IV. Objections to Kantian Ethics
Interestingly, some critiques consider Kant’s theory to be constraining. Yet, the work of O’Neil suggests otherwise. She focuses on the second categorical imperative specifically to say that we need to ensure that we do not use someone as a mere means. More simply said, we do not coerce or deceive someone to reach our end (104-105). I would like to emphasize that she specifically points out we “cannot just claim that our intentions are good and do what we will” (105). Relating back to Kant’s theory of a ‘good will’, our maxims should be out of duties sake. Therefore, we do not have to spend a life committed to doing the most good and creating the most happiness, but rather a life in which we are fair and do not act to use others to promote happiness as a mere means.

Second, utilitarian theorists may say that you cannot rank actions as more or less wrong under Kantian theories. This is not the point of Kant’s theory however, because he does not look at consequences for determining moral law, but rather at maxims. In order to determine what may produce more or less harm, it is true we would need to know the consequences of our actions. But, sometimes we cannot be sure of our consequences, and thus when we look at our intentions we can know if we are acting fairly (without deception or coercion) and decide on an action that would be moral based on a maxim of good will. O’Neil does point out that it is possible for a society to endure more pain in effort to protect individuals from being used as a mere means, yet they are doing so in a way to be the most fair, and therefore their actions can still be applied to the theme of giving everyone a fair value in life (106).

Finally, an objection to which I ...


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... different theories on moral law Utilitarianism allows for suffering if it promotes the maximum happiness in the aggregate calculation, thus moral rules are determined by utility. In contrast, Kantian ethics suggests that people are all rational and can use the categorical imperative further to determine what is moral. Through Kant’s view, everyone gets the same results as everyone else because no one should be used as a mere means. Therefore, everyone matters equally in fairness. Yet, both have had impact on decisions made historically. Although, as I have proposed, I feel that the Kantian theory is more reasonable and clear considering the objections of composition and fairness I described in my argument and examples against Utilitarianism. Further, I am reminded of the challenges to calculate consequences required for maximizing utility, especially in the long-run.

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