human beings should always be treated as ends in themselves and never as merely means

This derives from Kant's claim that reason motivates morality: it demands that we … Those influenced by Kantian ethics include social philosopher Jürgen Habermas, political philosopher John Rawls, and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. This does not mean a logical contradiction, but that universalizing the maxim leads to a state of affairs that no rational being would desire. [32] In such a community, each individual would only accept maxims that can govern every member of the community without treating any member merely as a means to an end. Regan finally argued that Kant's assertion that animals exist merely as a means to an end is unsupported; the fact that animals have a life that can go well or badly suggests that, like humans, they have their own ends. Duty need not be seen as cold and impersonal: one may have a duty to cultivate their character or improve their personal relationships. Kant also believed that, because animals do not possess rationality, we cannot have duties to them except indirect duties not to develop immoral dispositions through cruelty towards them. Animals, according to Kant, are not rational, thus one cannot behave immorally towards them. Any moral act must ensure that human beings are valued as ends in themselves and not as a means to an end ie. [4] Kant regarded the good will as a single moral principle that freely chooses to use the other virtues for moral ends. [7], Applying the categorical imperative, duties arise because failure to fulfil them would either result in a contradiction in conception or in a contradiction in the will. [23][24][25] This does not mean that we can never treat a human as a means to an end, but that when we do, we also treat him as an end in himself. A rational being cannot rationally consent to be used merely as a means to an end, so they must always be treated as an end. [2], In his combined works, Kant constructed the basis for an ethical law by the concept of duty. Elizabeth Anscombe criticised modern ethical theories, including Kantian ethics, for their obsession with law and obligation. [2] He argued that Kant's ethics lack any content and so cannot constitute a supreme principle of morality. Cohen believes that even when humans are not rational because of age (such as babies or fetuses) or mental disability, agents are still morally obligated to treat them as an ends in themselves, equivalent to a rational adult such as a mother seeking an abortion. [47], French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan linked psychoanalysis with Kantian ethics in his works The Ethics of Psychoanalysis and Kant avec Sade, comparing Kant with the Marquis de Sade. [8] Kant believed that perfect duties are more important than imperfect duties: if a conflict between duties arises, the perfect duty must be followed. The denial of this view of prudence, Nagel argues, means that one does not really believe that one is one and the same person through time. [31] In such a community, each individual would only accept maxims that can govern every member of the community without treating any member merely as a means to an end. The maxim is not moral because it is logically impossible to universalize—we could not conceive of a world where this maxim was universalized. This page was last edited on 10 October 2020, at 01:16. [62], German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer criticised Kant's belief that ethics should concern what ought to be done, insisting that the scope of ethics should be to attempt to explain and interpret what actually happens. [27] This principle requires people to recognize the right of others to act autonomously and means that, as moral laws must be universalizable, what is required of one person is required of all.[28][29][30]. [26] This principle requires people to recognize the right of others to act autonomously and means that, as moral laws must be universalisable, what is required of one person is required of all.[27][28][29]. The good will is unique in that it is always good and maintains its moral value even when it fails to achieve its moral intentions. I have the distinction of clearing all 6 UPSC CSE Prelims with huge margins. Korsgaard 2004; Korsgaard 2015, pp. [35] If IAS is your destination, begin your journey with Santosh Sir. [56], Marcia Baron has attempted to defend Kantian ethics on this point. [12] Unlike hypothetical imperatives, which bind us insofar as we are part of a group or society which we owe duties to, we cannot opt out of the categorical imperative because we cannot opt out of being rational agents.

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