Kantian Ethics

Kantian Ethics

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Comparisons of Kantian Ethics and Christian Ethics
COMPARISONS
THE CONCEPT OF FREEDOM
Many parallels have been drawn between St. Paul's and Kant's conception of freedom:
ST PAUL KANT
We are free from death, sin, flesh and Freedom is fundamental to morality we
darkness through Christ's resurrection must be free in order to be moral
Freedom leads us to becoming `slaves to Freedom leads to duty
righteousness'
UNIVERSALISABILITY
The first formulation of Kant's Categorical Imperative says that your actions should:
1. Be universalisable
2. Be willed to be universalised
This is the same as Jesus' Golden Rule:
"Love your neighbour as yourself"
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
If you can will your action to be universalised, then it would be an action you would wish
consider moral in all situations including your own. Thus, it could be argued that the
Golden Rule is identical to Kant's Categorical Imperative.
ENDS IN THEMSELVES
Kant's second formulation of the Categorical Imperative gives humans intrinsic value and
promotes equality by saying that humans should not be treated as a means to an end but
as ends in themselves. In St. Paul's first epistle to the Romans he writes on two separate
occasions: "one may not do evil that good may come." This is the same as saying: `the
end does not justify the means."
According to biblical ethics:
We are made in God's image as the climax of his work
Genesis 1:27
"So God created man in his own image"
Life is divinely and uniquely ordained from conception
Psalm 139:13
"For you created my inmost being you knit me together in my mother's womb"

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From this we can deduce that humans have intrinsic as opposed to instrumental
value because they were purposely and uniquely designed in the loving image of
their creator and therefore should not be treated as a means to an end but as
ends in themselves
CONTRASTS
RULES
Jesus teaches that the person not the rules take presidence. In the Gospels Jesus is
often shown curing people in the synagogue on the Sabbath (for example in Matthew 12).
This goes against the Jewish Sabbath laws.…read more

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Comparison of Utilitarianism and Christian Ethics
COMPARISONS
GOLDEN RULE
Mill linked the principle of utility to Jesus' Golden Rule:
"Love your neighbour as yourself"
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
Both the principle of utility and the Golden Rule express the idea that your own concerns
are on a level with those of other people.…read more

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Justice is concerned with the greatest good of society and takes humans into account
collectively. Fletcher comments that this is the same as Bentham and Mill's principle of
utility replacing `good' with `agape'.…read more

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From this we can deduce that humans have intrinsic as opposed to instrumental
value because they were purposely and uniquely designed in the loving image of
their creator and therefore should not be treated as a means to an end but as
ends in themselves (Kant)
PREFERENCE UTILITARIANISM
Peter Singer's Preference Utilitarianism is concerned with maximising preference
satisfaction, contrary to the Christian idea of being selfsacrificing.…read more

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