One of my favorite theories that we talked about in class, and one of the theories I find hardest to implement in my own life is Kantian ethics. Kant did not like how utilitarians had changed the view of morality to consequences, and he says that a good morality is tied directly to one’s duties. The motivations behind why an act is performed are more important than the results. Specifically, an act must be done from the right motive, and the right motive is the desire to do one’s duty (Pence 343). There is only one correct motive in Kantian ethics and that is the desire to be a good person, to do what is right, and to have a “pure will.” Kantian ethicists are also called deontologists (deontos, meaning duty) because of how much emphasis on how acts are based on being done because of responsibility and duty, not for free will or want. The best trait found in a human is being able to pick a good act simple because it is right, having nothing to do with the consequences nor the emotions surrounding the event. It is our duty in the world to inact our good will, but that is easier said than done. Kant gives a couple guidelines to help find out what are our duties and what are good actions. One major component of a right act is that all right acts are universal. If that one act was used at the maxim, meaning everyone in the world, then it is a right act. If the world would cease functioning in a good way if the act was used at the maxim, then the act is wrong. Another formula Kant gives is that right acts always treat other humans as an “ends-in-themselves.” They never treat them as “mere means.” This gives all people absolute worth, and not relative worth that can be compromised in certain situations.
Another major ethical theory that we discussed in class this year was utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a brought ethical theory with a lot of facets, but just wants to cover what utilitarianism means on the surface, a broad view of it so to...
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