Give an account of Kant's ethical theory.

This is a copy of the Kantian Ethics essay I did. It has both the 25 mark and 10 mark questions answered, the 10 mark question is mostly discussing Euthanasia with the application of Kantian Ethics - meaning what Kant would say about Euthanasia.

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  • Created on: 28-04-13 20:11
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a. Give an account of Kant's ethical theory. (25marks)
The ethical theory by Kant is a deontological argument consisting of absolute moral
law attributes. This means that it is only concerned with the intrinsic worth of an
action and is not open to exceptions to the rule; this then allows Kant's theory to be
applied universally. Since this ethical theory being based on moral law, its statements
are then a priori synthetic.
Through Kant's ethical theory he is able to link good will with duty. Good will is only
concerned with the interests of others and not our own, ­ basically the motive
behind an action which is important and makes the good will, good ­ therefore by
acting out of good will we are acting out of duty ­ everyone has the duty to do
good. Kant also firmly believed that reason will also lead us to know what our duty is.
However, doing the right thing with the wrong intentions is an example of
hypothetically which is going against the duty principle. Kant believes that by looking
at the consequences of actions a person is in danger of giving in to emotions, which
is never acceptable. Duty comes from good will. People should always act
categorically when they are aware of their moral duty, `ought implies can'.
Kant used the Categorical Imperative to emphasize his ethical theory further. The
categorical imperative consists of universal law, meaning that all moral statements
should be general laws that apply to everyone; with no exceptions being made. The
universal law would apply duty to everyday life. Another categorical imperative by
Kant is that humans should be treated as an ends in themselves, instead of a means
to some end. For example, Kant would be against prostitution, for women are only
treated as an ends in themselves. This promotes equality and protects human dignity.
Kant's third categorical imperative is that humans should act as if they live in a
kingdom of ends. It was assumed by Kant that all rational humans should be able to
conclude the same moral laws and whether an argument was moral or not; Hence,
Kant's belief that human beings possess innate reason. Kant's ethical theory is based
firmly on the basis that all humans have reason, therefore they must act rationally.
Irrational humans are not able to fully carry out their duty. Therefore, Kant would say

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Kant would argue that by doing your duty, you are increasing your
chances of reaching Summon Bonum ­ which is the highest good.
b.…read more

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Kant's ethical theory is a good approach to euthanasia.'
Discuss. (10 marks)
Despite there being several definitions of euthanasia for different situations ­
involuntary and voluntary ­ Kant would still object to it. Kant's ethical theory is a
good approach to euthanasia as Kant along with his theory is absolute.
Kant's ethical theory states that duty is a universal law; this means that duty
works both ways.…read more


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