ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

Kant

Essay by   •  October 29, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,942 Words (8 Pages)  •  992 Views

Essay Preview: Kant

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

Utilitarianism is a consequential perspective, in that, a decision in based on the effects it ----will have on society and what it will generally lead to. Also, the utility or usefulness of an action is determined by the amount of happiness that will result. Therefore, no action in itself can be deemed wrong; consequence alone are the important matter. Using this principle, one should consider the possible results of each potential action.

One clear flaw of the utilitarian perspective is there that there seems to be a lack of the concept of justice. Their moral principles would justify doing experiments on a single man with no friends or family. The justification would still exist in a case in which the experiments would cause a man to die, yet benefits occurred because substantial medical knowledge was obtained. There also seems to be no intrinsic value placed upon human life, yet the value is placed upon the happiness of the greatest of people.

Utilitarianism follows one of two categories; act and rule. With Act Utilitarianism, all possible actions are considered and one must determine which action would yield the most happiness or benefits for the greatest number of people. However, with act utilitarianism, there really is no way of determining if the right choice of actions was carried out. Also, there is no clear way to be certain on what the results of the actions will be. For example, there is no way to be sure that a severely impaired infant will not recover enough to live a better life that what was predicted.

However, acting morally doesn't mean acting omniscient. A reasonable effort must be made to get relevant data to predict the possible consequences of all actions involved.

Another form of utilitarianism would be rule utilitarianism. This moral standard suggest that an action is right if it follows a specific rule that has been structured and validated while keeping the principle of utility in mind. A rule utilitarian would not concern themselves with the utility of specific or individual cases, but would follow a set of particular rules. One would not have to go through the process of calculations involved in determining maximum utility, but a particular rule would have already addressed the specific issue. Once a rule is created, it is used to determine whether a particular action is right.

Overall, in my opinion, I would by no means follow any form of Utilitarianism. For me, the value lies in the individual human life and not on the success or happiness of the entire group. Human life in itself has intrinsic value. An action should not occur based on overall happiness of those involved, but should occur because it is our duty to have compassion for every individual human life and should strive to preserve that life whenever possible.

As opposed to the consequential viewpoint, the deontology perspective states the morality is based upon following duty, instead of basing decisions solely on consequences. We simply have to understand what our moral duties are and what rules may exist in the process of following such a duty. Duties and obligations must be determined objectively and absolutely, but not subjectively. Kant's Ethics and Ross's Ethics would fall under the deontologist platform.

For Kant, consequences of an action are morally irrelevant. This would be the direct opposite approach of the utilitarian who bases their decisions on consequences. In addition, according to Kant, an action is right when it follows a rule that satisfies a principle he terms categorical imperative. Rules would involve someone stating to themselves, "Whenever I am involved in this situation of this nature, I will do this." An example would be that you decided to have an abortion. You could have stated that whenever you are in certain circumstances, you will have the abortion, but when other such circumstances exist, you will not. Such a rule is termed a maxim. In Kant's view, all reasoned and considered actions can be regarded as having maxims. The maxims in such cases are personal or subjective, but are candidates for moral rules. If they pass through the screening of categorical imperative, the action can be deemed right. Once a maxim passes the screening, they cease to merely be personal or subjective, but gain status as objective rules of morality that can apply to everyone. A categorical imperative describes what should be done without reference to any consequences.

Kant goes on to state that we should always act as to treat humanity, either yourself or others, always as an end and never only as a means. Kant believes that every rational creature has worth in itself. This is another direct opposition to utilitarianism, in that utilitarianism seek to bring happiness to the masses, taking away from any value on an individual. Such worth of the individual is inherent based on the fact of possessing rationality.

Kant separated duties into two categories; perfect and imperfect. A perfect duty is one we must always observe, while imperfect duty is one we must observe only in certain situations. A perfect duty exists not to injure someone, but an imperfect duty exists to show love and compassion. Kant's ethics state that an action has features in itself that make it right in accordance with duty. However, a utilitarian finds right in actions that produce the most amount of happiness.

To some degree, I would consider myself a Kantian, but not in entirety. I would agree that an action is right based upon duty and not consequences, but I feel that Kant's rule systems are too narrow and leave too much room for inconsistency or a conflict between duties.

Like Kant, Ross's ethics fall under the deontology viewpoint. However, Ross rejects aspects of both utilitarianism and of Kant. Ross believes that it is important to take consequences into consideration when making a decision, but they should never be the sole reason behind an action. Consequences alone would not yield a right action. A basis for Ross' general ethical structure is moral intuition. Ross believes that our moral intuitions can supply us with general moral rules. There are certain cases in which no explanation exists to explain why something is moral or not, but you "just have to see it." He suggests that even with rules, one may not always recognize what the right thing to do is. In situations like this, moral intuition can take effect. Ross rejects the idea that absolute, invariant moral rules can exist.

Although not as clear cut and descriptive as the ethical

...

...

Download as:   txt (10.8 Kb)   pdf (123.1 Kb)   docx (12.7 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com
Citation Generator

(2010, 10). Kant. ReviewEssays.com. Retrieved 10, 2010, from https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Kant/5438.html

"Kant" ReviewEssays.com. 10 2010. 2010. 10 2010 <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Kant/5438.html>.

"Kant." ReviewEssays.com. ReviewEssays.com, 10 2010. Web. 10 2010. <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Kant/5438.html>.

"Kant." ReviewEssays.com. 10, 2010. Accessed 10, 2010. https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Kant/5438.html.