Kantian ethics



1. Does not view all human actions as being morally based. Frees up the decision making process to concentrate on what is important.

2. Expresses the worth of each human as an autonomous individual.

3. Puts pressure on the individual to act in a moral and logically coherent manner.

4. Emphasives dignity and worth of human life.

5. Idea of duty seems to fit with human experience.

6. Eradicates bias to family etc by equal treatment of all.

7. Principle of universalisability builds towards a more unified world.

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Strengths 2

8. Clarity - Kantian ethics is clear and easy to follow. Its absolutist, deontologicalnature is arguably the most easy to apply

9. Egalitarian - Kant states we should treat people as "an end in themselves" and so Kantian ethics puts everyone on equal ground

10. Consistent - the absolutist nature of the ethic means that what it says will never change - nobody is an exception

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Weaknesses 1

1. Problem of compatibilism. The idea that humans are both free and bound by moral and physical laws. Kant is in favour of human freedom and autonomy but implies the categorical imperative must be obeyed.

2. No place for love and personal relationships.

3. Consequences are ignored.

4. Do a priori moral laws exist?

5. Are moral laws just products of environment and culture?

6. Moral luck. Ignores the circumstances of a moral action, a person may think they are doing good but because of the circumstance of their action do harm. Another may do exactly the same think but achieve moral good. (Nagel & Williams)

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Weaknesses 2

7. The law of double effect. Should a patient be given painkilling drugs which reduce their life. (Philippa Foot among others)

8. Speciesist - Kant once said that "animals are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man."

this anthropocentric view may offend certain environmental theories and present humanity as arrogant - preference utilitarian Peter Singer would take particular offence  because pretty much all he talks about is animals. He loves them.

9. People are different and don't necessarily have the same sense of 'good will'

10. Not everyone is capable of making rational moral decisions

11. Every action we take involves love and compassion because we are human beings

12. It is human nature to consider the consequences before acting

13 Kant's view depends on some idea of God to explain the rationally ordered world, meaning atheists cannot accept this theory

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