Analysis Of Les Miserables By Victor Hugo Essay

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“All moral concepts have their origin entirely a priori in reason.” (pg.17) This quote found in eighteenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant 's work Groundworks for the Meta-physics of Morals, provides a summary in itself for the approach Kant takes in his deontological interpretation of ethics. Deontological ethics, differs from a teleological approach to ethics where the end or consequence of an action is valued more than the action itself. Adversely, deontological ethics emphasizes the moral weight of the action itself as opposed to it 's end or consequence. In Groundworks, Kant attempts to approach ethics like a science, devising a moral law, like the scientific law, where the rules are formulated a priori and apply universally and necessarily to all cases. A scenario that seems to question the validity of this approach to morality can be found in the famous French novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Jean Valjean, a profoundly unlucky and impoverished fictional character from the novel, worked to support himself, his widowed sister and her seven children. When an especially tough winter came, Valjean who was out of work, made the choice to steal a loaf of bread from a local baker in order to avoid starvation. Valjean 's choice to steal bread can be seen as justified for many sympathetic readers. However, Immanuel Kant would not be of the same mind according to his theories on morality explained in Groundworks. “Act as if the maxim of your action were to become by…

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