Utiltarianism vs Kant

Topics: Morality, Immanuel Kant, Ethics Pages: 3 (809 words) Published: April 4, 2005
Kant had a different ethical system which was based on reason. According to Kant reason was the fundamental authority in determining morality. All humans possess the ability to reason, and out of this ability comes two basic commands: the hypothetical imperative and the categorical imperative. In focusing on the categorical imperative, in this essay I will reveal the underlying relationship between reason and duty.

The categorical imperative suggests that a course of action must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. The course of action taken can also be reasoned by its ability to be seen as a universal law. Universal laws have been deemed as unconditional commands that are binding to everyone at all times. Kant believed that individuals have a freedom to consciously obey the laws of the universe as they are revealed in accordance to our ability to reason. Kant goes a step further to suggest that our actions should be driven by a sense of duty that is dictated by reason.

What does it mean to act out of duty? Kant says that this means that we should act out of respect for the moral law. The moral law can be directly related to the categorical imperative. How can we accomplish the task of acting out of duty? We must first recognize and have an understanding of what the moral law is, then a sense of duty should become the motive for our actions. Finally our actions should be compelled by doing what is morally right; which is considered doing what we can will to be a universal law to be followed by all. Moral laws can also be defined as universal laws.

Kant's theory can be defended on several premises. First, all individuals do have a duty to what is right, whether they act accordingly or not. All citizens are held to a duty to uphold the laws, if there was no duty then laws would not exist. Morality coincides with being loyal to the laws, being a disciplined person, and living an orderly life. These essentials are all present in Kant's...
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