Kantian Theory Essay example

2238 Words Dec 7th, 2008 9 Pages
UTILITARIAN AND KANTIAN APPROACHES TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GROUPS AND OUTSIDERS
All of the social and political theories discussed in the previous sections agree that good leadership must be in the interests of followers. Where they disagree is on how much inequality between leaders and followers can be justified in pursuit of the common interest. Thus far we have equated the common interest with the interests of leaders and followers alone.[11] We turn now to a second main question about inequality that arises when we notice that outsiders also have interests, which sometimes compete with the interests of leaders and followers. Liberal moral theory, of which utilitarianism and Kantianism are paradigm examples, is committed to the
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19). But Mill's point is a practical implication of 19th-century social circumstances. As Peter Singer puts it,
This may once have been a justification for being more concerned with the poor in one's own town than with famine victims in India. Unfortunately for those who like to keep their moral responsibilities limited, instant communication and swift transportation have changed the situation … There would seem, therefore, to be no possible justification for discriminating on geographical grounds. (Singer 1972, p. 232)
In this respect the demands of utilitarianism are very much dependent on facts about the world. Mill and Singer are in basic agreement about the principles of morality, but the application of these principles will vary according to changes in social circumstances. Their disagreement, that is, is empirical.
One might object that the argument for equal consideration ignores stronger utilitarian reasons for giving special attention to the interests of group members. Support for this objection would point to what might be called ‘the moral division of labor’. It makes good utilitarian sense, so this objection goes, to ask people to attend to the happiness and well-being of the ingroup, not humanity as a whole. After all it would hardly maximize utility to spread our moral concern too thinly. For example, there is greater overall happiness and well-being in a world in which…

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