Immanuel Kant was a philosopher and professor that was born in Königsberg in East Prussia in 1724 and died in 1804 (Turner, 2012, para.2). Kant developed a theory of duty ethics that focused on nonconsequential theories of morality. According to Thiroux and Krasemann (2012) Kant’s theory stated that questions of morality can be answered by reasoning alone (p.50). The other theory of ethics that will be analyzed, compared and contrasted to Kant’s theory of duty ethics is the ethical theory of utilitarianism. There are two forms of utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism states that everyone should perform the act that brings about the greatest good for everyone (Thiroux, Krasemann pg. 37). Rule utilitarianism states that everyone should follow the rule that brings about the most good for everyone affected by that act. This paper will compare and contrast both theories and focus on each of their strengths and weaknesses.
Kant’s duty based ethics are a nonconsequential theory of ethics. Kent was a nonconsequentialist because he believed that one should not consider the consequences of ones actions when making a decision about right or wrong. Kent believed that only the “good will” was moral and all acts should be made based on rules no matter the consequences. Kent took a very systemic approach to ethics. Kent believed that all decisions could be made by being logically consistent and by applying universalizability. Kant believed that questions of morality could be run through the Categorical Imperative. The Categorical Imperative states that an act is immoral if the rule can not be applied universally. Some of the strengths of Kant’s theories are that ethics in Kant’s theories are approached with a system. Someone can reach a decision about the morality of an issue with a formula and apply it universally. Someone that uses Kant’s Categorical Imperative to make decisions about right and wrong doesn’t use it base on their own personal interest. The...
References: Ming, J. (1908). Categorical Imperative. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert
Appleton Company. Retrieved July 5, 2012 from New Advent:
Thiroux, J. P., & Krasemann, K. W. (2012). Ethics Theory and Practice (11thth ed., p. 50). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Publication Inc.
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