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How to Apply Kantian Ethics

PostPosted: March 23rd, 2017, 10:23 pm
by Waterman
I have read a fair bit on John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism and Immanuel Kant's Ethical Theories, and yet, my feeling is that Kant's writings are both an order of magnitude more extensive and more complex than Mill's, leaving me feeling confident only in putting Mill's Utilitarianism into practice via thought experiment.

Q: Can anyone offer me a step-by-step example of working through an ethical question, dilemma, situation, etc. via Kantian Ethics?

I'll leave the precise situation up to you but please chose something different than any of the examples Kant offers in Part II of the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Many thanks.

Re: How to Apply Kantian Ethics

PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 7:22 pm
by TheVat
It may be a bit shaky to start a thread, as a newbie, with what could be mistaken for a homework question. What is more likely to garner responses is to mull the question over and offer your own example, and whatever questions that raises for you. What I know of Kant's categorical imperative is that it is quite easy to come up with examples. If you will search "categorical imperative" on our site's search function, you will find numerous threads that have discussed Kantian ethics in relation to specific situations. That should get the ball rolling.

Re: How to Apply Kantian Ethics

PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 7:47 pm
by Lomax
Ha, this does come across like a homework question. Waterman, I hope you don't mind if I dissent from you rather than answering your question: I don't think Kantian ethics are as extensive (in their potential application) as utilitarian ethics. Take the categorical imperative: how do we decide which actions should be universalised? Is (Lomax shaves Lomax) morally wrong because I cannot will that everybody shaves Lomax? Or is it right because I can will that everybody shaves themselves? Is it a moral question at all? How does Kant help us determine? I don't think he can. And so I. Kant answer your question, either.