Ethical Dilemmas In Kant's 'Categorical Imperative'

2275 Words 9 Pages
This paper will discuss morality and how it applies to solving ethical dilemmas based on four philosophers and their theories from the textbook, “Exploring Ethics”. Philosophers Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Aristotle, and Virginia Held each have a different approach which I will outline in the next few paragraphs and then provide my opinion on which I find most effective. According to Immanuel Kant’s “Categorical Imperative”, is the moral worth of our actions. It is Kant’s belief that we should act without expecting recognition. “… the moral worth of an action is to be judged not by its consequences, but by the nature of the maxim or principle that motivated the action” (98). Correct maxims, are those that can be made universal law, …show more content…
It is important to have a set of rules like Kant’s, to help guide us through difficult situations. Rules are what help regulate the actions of society as a whole. If everyone were allowed to do their own thing without being held accountable for our actions, society would crumble. We should assess each dilemma with the mindset that the outcome of our decisions should be one that we would hope would apply to others as well. Realistically, the outcome of a decision, especially with the expectation that there are no exceptions to this rule, is going to be subjective. I think that in general, we all strive to live our lives in a way that brings us the most happiness, though our definitions of happiness are different. I think it’s safe to say that no one wants to welcome things that cause us pain but the truth is that pain is inevitable, it is a part of life, and without pain we cannot learn and grow. There are valuable lessons in success and failure. It is what we take away from our experiences that shape our morality. Our individual virtue is something that we should all be concerned with. Exhibiting sound moral and intellectual judgment, like Aristotle’s definition, is paramount to being successful members of society. We are expected to take what we have learned in our youth and apply it to our adult life. Finding our own “happy medium”, for lack of a better term, is how we mold our individual character. Cultivating relationships with others, like Held proposes, is what ensures we are living a full life. Being open emotionally ensures that the impact that we have on others is significant, yet it is imperative that we don’t become ruled by our emotions. Keeping a level head in stressful situations means that we are making informed, rational and

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