Immanuel Kant: Definition Of Enlightenment

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Immanuel Kant: Definition Of Enlightenment


Over the last decade, the advent of cloning and advancements in human genetic research has presented society with a complicated moral quandary. Debate rages as to what constitutes legitimate paths of inquiry and where to draw the line as to research that strikes many people as morally wrong. The basic question is: "how does society determine what's right?" While, of course, questions regarding human genetic research are new, this basic question is as hold as civilization and has been addressed over and over again by history's great philosophers. One of the most notable philosophers of the modern era is Immanuel Kant, who was born in Prussia in 1724. Kant paid a great deal of attention to formulating a complex system of morality. The following examines Kantian morals and how they might be applied to questions of human genetic research. Kant's moral theory is predicated on the idea of the "categorical imperative," which Kant described in the following manner, "Act only on that maxim which you can at the same time will to be a universal law"(Honderich, 1995, p. 436). By the term "maxim," Kant meant general rules or principles upon which rational individuals act, and that these principles reflect the end that an individual has in mind in choosing actions of a certain type in given circumstances (Honderich, 1995). Therefore, maxims are principles in the following form: "When in an S-type situation, act in an A-type manner in order to attain end- E" (Honderich, 1995, p. 436).

In every circumstance, Kant believed that "categorical imperative" provides a sure criterion for how to evaluate right and wrong (Frost, 1962). Kant maintained that an action that the individual can easily will that everyone should follow and perform would necessarily have to be a good act (Frost, 1962)

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