Explore the Resemblances and Differences Between Kantian and Christian Ethics.

Topics: Morality, Immanuel Kant, Ethics Pages: 9 (3118 words) Published: November 11, 2008
Viet-Duy PHAM (99563905)
“The starry heavens above me;
The moral law within me.”
- Kant, Immanuel (1724–1804)-

Through ancient times and evolution of history ethics has always been viewed as a center of societies of mankind, embracing practical nature links it with many other areas of study, including anthropology, biology, economics, history, politics, sociology, and theology with the teaching of Western philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, or Asia with the view of Confucius, Lao-tzu or Meng Tzu etc. Yet, “ethics remains distinct from such disciplines because it is not a matter of factual knowledge in the way that the sciences and other branches of inquiry are. Rather, it has to do with determining the nature of normative theories and applying these sets of principles to practical moral problems” (Singer P, 1985). And through times many question about the practicality of religion ethics and secular ethic, which can be apply to mortal societies. Some argue that, there are more similarities than differences when comparing ethics, in this paper will intend to introduce the Kantian ethics teachings and explore the resemblances and differences compare to the teachings of Christian ethics.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, (2008) defines “ethics” as the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles, which may be viewed as the individual's standard of conduct or as a body of social obligations and duties. Whereas Morals, is dealing with or “capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, of teaching or in accordance with the principles of right and wrong”. The purpose of ethics is to show the difference between rights and wrongs.

Kantian ethics is based upon the teachings of the philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). According to Dr Boeree, C. George (1999), Kant in his “Religion Within the Limits of Reason,”… “argues that man are born with the potential for both good and bad…” and “although there is an inborn moral sense, it must be developed by moral instruction” (Boeree, C. George, 1999), and in Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant (1785) determining morality by The Categorical Imperative, combine with the concept of “motive” is the most important factor in determining what is ethical, Kant (1785) claim and insist that the only thing that has intrinsic goodness is a “good will”, which is a composite of aft the rational means available within the individual. Kant (1785) writes, “There is no possibility of thinking of anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be regarded as good without qualification, except a good will” (p. 393) with notion of acknowledged the worth that exists in every human being and insisted that actions resulting from (personal) desires cannot be free and that freedom is to be found only in rational action (Singer P, 1984), and freedom, which is needed by man to choose the absolute good based upon his morality. Kant (1788) argued in Critique of Practical Reason that a moral action is one that is performed out of a sense of duty and capability of practical reason to answer the question of what makes an action right whilst still taking as the central activity the development of a goodwill, therefore, goodwill of a person is absolute, it performs not for any end, it is simple, and the virtue of willing it is an end in self, i.e. good in itself. As Kant (1788) states “...good must be an object of desire in the judgement of every rational man, and evil an object of aversion in the eyes of everyone; therefore, in addition to sense, this judgement requires reason...” (1788) which mean we can know what is right or wrong only through abstract reflection moral rationalism. And motive is the most important factor in Kant’s ethics therefore it is possible for an action to have negative consequences while still being a moral act. For example, if acting out of because you want society to think highly of you that is not moral act, but act in a sense of...

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