Immanuel should never act except in such a

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Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was born, lived and passed away in his home town of Konigsberg. He lived from 1724 to 1804. He studied at the local university and later returned to tutor and lecture students. It wasn’t until he met an English merchant by the name of Joseph Green that Kant learned of David Hume and began to develop his ideas of morals and values. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781) is believed by many to be his greatest work. Kant’s was known mainly, however, for his moral code The Categorical Imperative.

Immanuel Kant was a follower of Deontology, or duty ethics. This means that for an act to be moral it must be performed out of duty. If you are concerned for the end product of your actions it is not a moral act. Only when your action is done in such a way that your only concern is the action itself is it a moral act. For example if a child runs into the street in front of a car and you grab that child you have performed a moral act. You are not worried about the outcome; your only concern is the act of grabbing the child. If, however, it is your child then your only concern is that your child is safe regardless the consequences of your actions. This then would not be considered a moral act.
Kant states that your duty to act comes from your good will. He describes the good will as the process by which we make our decisions. It is, as its name states, inherently good. It is something we have from the moment we are born.

In his Categorical Imperative Immanuel Kant explains what it means to act in accordance with universal law through his correlation of good will, reason, and duty. He says, “I should never act except in such a way that I can will that my maxim should become a universal law.” This means that when one is faced with a moral decision they are forced to observe a maxim. A maxim is an intention or a plan that we are to apply to the categorical imperative. The maxim provides us with a sound test see if our actions are moral our immoral. When deciding about our actions we are to ask ourselves the question of whether you would will that everyone did the same thing that you are about to do at the same time in the same circumstances. You are to universalize your decision so that you would wish everyone would do the same.

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John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was born in London. Mill lived from 1806 to 1873. He had a very structured upbringing. His father made certain he excelled scholastically. At the age of 21 he had a nervous breakdown due to his rigorous studying habits. In 1863 Mill wrote Utilitarianism. This was written as a response to Kantianism.

Categories: Ethics

J.Brady deciphers his ethical questions by examining

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J.Brady Grygrowski
Phil 205
Paper 3
The task that stands before me in this paper is to address two situations and determine the ethical parameters in which a person should act. The two philosophical approaches that I will examine the situations with the Kantian and Utilitarian point of view. Kant deciphers his ethical questions by examining a persons motivation for performing an act regardless of the consequences. A person who utilizes the Kantian view believes that the only pure good is pure human reason without consequences. This pure human reason works without the influence of human emotions and desires. A truly good act as defined by Kant is performed because of an obligation to the categorical imperative. The objectives and personal agendas of the individual performing the act must kept separate and distinct.

Utilitarism makes ethical decisions based on the consequences of the action taken. Unlike the Kantian view the motives are not important just the consequences. The action is measured by how much happiness or sadness the action creates. The ideal ethical decision is the one that creates the most happiness and the least amount of sadness. It nearly impossible to have different degrees of freedom since a person would have to experience all the various degrees of freedom to determine what degree of happiness is better than the other.

Upon examining the thief who stole from the millionaire Kant would examine the motives of the thief. The thief is stealing for himself regardless of his situation. Even if his family is poor and struggling. The thief is still furthering himself. The reasons for the thief stealing from the wealthy man doesnt matter. Stealing is against the universal law that it is wrong to steal from another person. This applies to everyday life and decision-making occurrences, needs and wants are thrown out the window. Any form of stealing is wrong according to Kant.
This is a strong argument because it stands firm in that it is wrong to steal. We are in a society that has laws and regulations against stealing this keeps order in society. The Kantian view does not waver despite the possible physical and emotional needs of the thief. Kant doesnt make exceptions for the poor and unfortunate.

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A person using the Utilitarian ethic code would look at the situation then examine the consequences of the action taken. The millionaire doesnt have a clue that the money is gone. There are plenty of indicators that the man is stealing quality of life and material possessions are two for example. As a result of this stealing the man has brought happiness to himself, his family, and to the community around him because they dont have to support them. The heavy burdens of poverty and despair have been vanquished. The burdens of oppression are availed and the family can rise in class and social status among their peers. The only downside is the fear of being exposed. If the thief was found out he could lose his freedom, possessions, and respect of his peers after the discovery of his treachery. But if the thief remained undiscovered he has made everybody happier. By being a sufficient, integral member of society he is making everybody happier.

This analysis is favoring the thief, stealing is not looked upon as a bad deed. People get jailed, executed, or have body parts removed for theft but in the utilitarian view he gets away with it as long as he is not found out. The negative part of this analysis is that one has to steal from another human being to be happy and successful. Is there a situation where stealing is justified?
The next situation deals with a daughter who lies to her dying father that she will not marry anyone that has a different religious affiliation. The Kantian view would first examine the motives of the daughter for lying to her dying father. By lying to her father the girl is trying to ease the suffering her father is going through by denying his final wish. She is reassuring him in his final hours on earth. By lying to her dad she is giving him happiness and trying to relieve herself of the guilt associated with her

Categories: Emotions


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