Ls 312 Unit 2 Assignment: Ethical Theories

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LS 312 Unit 2 Assignment: Ethical Theories

[Name of the Institute]

Ethical Theories


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was the most important philosopher of the German Enlightenment. With an encyclopedic grasp of classical and contemporary intellectual developments, Kant advanced one of the most complete and comprehensive philosophical systems since Aristotle. After his work in the monumental Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, Critique of Judgment, and related scientific, philosophical, and theological writings, all later European philosophy divides into two mainstreams. These were fully integrated in Kant's own thought but subsequently split apart as German idealism (and its successors in phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, deconstructionism, and postmodernism, as so-called Continental philosophy), and Austrian and Anglo-American scientific empiricism, logical positivism, and linguistic analysis (so-called analytic philosophy). However, in this I will be considering the ethical principles of morality and behavior as identified by Kant in his Theory of Morality.

Theory of Morality

The first of Kant's principles of morality may be called the universal law or maxim. Kant claims that the basic principle of morality should be that individuals should act in such a way that they could want their maxim (motivation for acting) to be universal. This led Kant to describe such a universal maxim as a "categorical imperative." This simply means that all individuals should act in such a way that they would wish all others to follow the same guiding principle. The second of Kant's principles claims that a person should never treat another person as a means to an end. He separates individuals and objects into two categories: means and ends. Humans, he claims, should always be thought of as ends, or autonomous individuals with their own goals and desires. Treating others as ends promotes equality, because each person recognizes the other as an individual. His third moral principle is that his moral conclusions are universally available to all rational agents, who can use mental faculties to come to the same principles. Kant argued that all humans should be thought of in this way, as capable of arriving at moral conclusions through the process of reasoning (Kant, Ellington, 1993).

Considering a recent new article of New York Time about “Guardian Anger”, L.M. Wisconsin argued that her brother has a 25 year history of drug abuse, alcoholism and involvement in criminal action. She indicated that her brother is in worst medical condition and she is a single mother with a demanding job. She questions that does she ...
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