Kant’s second categorical imperative is intended to be a framework to apply his ethics in a practical sense. However, it is only written to be applicable to humans and it excludes animals. Kant states, “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only” (202). First, to explain the use of the word “humanity”. Kant refers to three components to explain humanity: rationality, absolute worth, and dignity (182). Thus, Kant implies that animals are not rational; therefore, do not have absolute worth and
Kant wants us to support the dignity of each human being and that everyone is owed a level of respect because of these traits and that rationality and autonomy supports this. he began to make sense of a number of deeply held moral beliefs.
The Kantian Theory can be defined as a moral or “humanitarian” theory. It utilizes the categorical imperative which says “never use a person as a mere means but always as an end”. According to Kant, intrinsic value is a person’s rational capacity, in which he views humans as rational beings that should use reasoning to determine what is right from wrong.
At first it would appear that Kant presupposes human beings as the only species worthy of morality without giving any explanatory criterion. Kant develops one of his foundational doctrines called “The Categorical Imperative”, which can be summarized in the following sentence: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity in such a way, whether in ourselves or in others, as an end in itself” (Groundwork II). It seems that Kant believes that human beings bar none deserve what he calls ‘respect’ or what we are calling moral consideration.
It would be impossible to follow such a rule of not utilizing people as means towards an end, however this formulation is trying to emphasize that all rational beings "must be treated never as a mere means but as the supreme limiting condition in the use of all means…as an end at the same time." Instead of seeing other rational beings as just tools towards a personal goal, we should see the benefit of others and “Humanity” as our end objective, rather than the means. Kant truly introduces the idea of respect in the formulation because it seems genuinely wrong to treat other rational humans as mere means with no other kind of value. One has to recognize, even with the significance of oneself having desires and treating oneself as the end, that what makes me unique as a logical and thinking being also resides in everyone else. Thus we determine that everyone else must also see themselves as ends and my means to my ends are no more significant than another rational being. In the case of the doctor’s moral dilemma, the Formula of Humanity would be the same answer because of various reasons. First, Kant is a firm believer in not being deceitful and thus the doctor should follow the moral action of telling the truth. The formulation also preaches that we should recognize that others are a basis of value by treating their chosen ends as good, and following their happiness as they see it. So in this case, the patient’s
Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals presents an interesting moral duty: that all people be treated as ends in themselves. As a result to this duty, Kant outlines imperatives adressing how to—and not to—treat other people. Some people regard these imperatives as “strict” and “not applicable” to reality. They believe Kant’s moral imperatives have practical exceptions despite suggestions for strict adherence, and they feel that Kant’s imperatives fail to answer real-world dilemmas; however, such criticisms are misunderstood and narrow-minded. To address such criticisms, it is necessary to first understand Kant’s construction of this duty to others—the Formula of Humanity.
The strengths and contributions in Kant’s theory include: 1) he marks a distinction between duty and inclination to make clear that morality is more than personal preference, 2) counters the “utilitarian presumption that the punishment of the innocent can be justified if the majority benefit” (no discrimination), 3) gives humans intrinsic worth as the rational high point of creation. The distinction between moral and inclination is that moral actions have to be nether self contradictory and universal. An example of duty is the prima face duties, such as fidelity, gratitude, and justice, proposed by W.D. Ross. One noteworthy strength of Kant’s theory is that it is good for both believers and non-believers of God and it opposes human lives as a means to the end. A morally good man needs to have good will and fulfils his duty. Kant’s ethical theory is based on duty as we ought to act morally as to do our duty- to obey the moral law. There is simply no room for feelings, inclination, love or occasion when related to moral decisions. Kant’s emphasis on our duty is similar and can be treated as compatible with the Ten Commandments in Christianity as its believers’ moral duty is to obey the Ten Commandments. Kant’s theory of ethics rejects utilitarianism, the “doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority,” which grants more fairness towards the
According to the Kantian tradition, moral propriety requires that persons be treated as ends in themselves and not
A Kantian view on ethics prescribes that a person should act in such a way that if all people acted that way it would be okay. For example if you gave your promise to do something, you would always keep it because if everyone broke his or her promises it would defeat the purpose of a promise. He also believed that reason alone should be able to reveal what the ethical decision should be. Another view of Kants’, states that you should never treat people as a means to an end, but rather, as an ends in themselves. This means that we cannot use people in a manner in which we would not wish to be used.
I will be addressing Kant’s claim that “Our duties towards animal are merely indirect duties towards humanity.” What Kant is trying to say is that our duties towards animals are in a way an indirect indication of our duties as humans. So for this reason, if we are nice to animals, we are indirectly doing our responsibilities as human beings. Kant also believes that doing good to animals can positively improve the way we treat others, therefore, making us better individuals. When Kant said, “if he is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men.” This means that if we are not hurting ourselves by being kind to animals, then we should be
Kant’s first formula: “The Formula of Universal Law: ‘Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law’ [Groundworks 4:421; cf. 4:402].” (Wood, A.W. 2005, p.135) This formula states that one should act in such a way that other people will learn from this action. That one is not to act in a way in which one would not be willing to allow others to act, for example expecting others not to lie, then one is required to do the same. Kant’s second formula: “The Formula of Humanity as End in Itself: “So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or that of another, always at the same time as an end, never as a means’ [Groundworks 4:429; cf. 4:436].” (Wood, A.W. 2005, p.135) In other words this formula means that “Human beings have absolute worth, and every maxim we adopt should lead only to actions that always treat humanity, whether ourselves or others, as ends in themselves, and never simply as means to achieving our own ends.” (Mills Daniel, D., Mills Daniel. D.E. & Daniel, M. 2011, p.161) This categorical imperative simply states that people should always treat others with dignity, as an end and never use them as simple instruments. Kant believes that the consequences of an action are not what make it right or wrong, but that when doing
7. Kant’s ethics gives us firm standards that do not depend on results; it injects a humanistic element into moral decision making and stresses the importance of acting on principle and from a sense of duty. Critics, however, worry that (a) Kant’s view of moral worth is too restrictive, (b) the categorical imperative is not a sufficient test of right and wrong, and (c) distinguishing between treating people as means and respecting them as ends in themselves may be difficult in practice.
People have an intrinsic worth above mere things or possessions. In order for people to cohabitate peacefully and respectively, there’s a need for universal laws based on good will and absolute moral beliefs. It is this moral belief which is based on reason and must be uniformly abided by. This allows humanity to function as an amicable society; an amicable society that is achieved by treating ourselves and others with respect and dignity. Immanuel Kant’s theory known as the categorical imperative expressed an absolute belief in universal moral laws which enables humanity to be treated well. (Rachels EMP 129 & 139)