Exploring Whether All Morality Should Reduce to Respecting Autonomy

1377 WordsJun 23, 20186 Pages
Kantian Ethics states that all morality can be reduced to respecting autonomy. This theory has faced criticisms as well as support. Its most plausible idea is that autonomous agents are capable of making their own decisions and even if their choices may not be the best for them, these choices should be respected. However, criticisms of this theory include concerns such as 1) respecting autonomy is not equivalent to respecting the autonomous agent, 2) the theory does not concern (or concerns very little) with non-autonomous agents such as children and non-human animals, 3) it is implausible that respecting autonomy is the only factor determining morality, and 4) respecting others’ autonomy does not follow from respecting one’s own autonomy.…show more content…
In response to this predicament, Rawls presents Contractualism, where what is right is what everyone would agree to behind a Veil of Ignorance. While behind this veil, an individual is not aware of their social class, sex, race, and any other psychological traits that may prevent one from making a fair judgement. Prioritizing autonomies while behind the Veil of Ignorance can be presumed to be fair and just. However, this theory is purely hypothetical and due to this fact, even if we can make ourselves be unaware of our social class, sex, race, and other psychological traits choices made behind the veil seem irrelevant to reality. Furthermore, agreement behind the Veil of Ignorance does not ensure that the decision is actually permissive because people may agree to a sacrifice if the probability of it happening to them is rare. For instance, people may agree to harvesting organs from healthy individuals to save a greater number of individuals but this does not mean that this act is morally permissible. I have presented how Rawls’ Contractualism fails to support Kantian Ethics which required prioritizing between one’s own autonomy against another’s. Even if the problem of conflicting autonomies were resolved, Kant’s theory still faces criticisms such as the fact that the theory does not respect an individual and their decisions as much as it respects autonomy, does not efficiently discourage unequal cruelty to non-autonomous agents, and does not imprint any value on
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