Essay on Kantian vs. Virtue Ethics

1330 Words 6 Pages
Both Kantian and virtue ethicists have differing views about what it takes to be a good person. Kantian ethicists believe that being a good person is strictly a matter of them having a “good will.” On the other hand, virtue ethicists believe that being a good person is a matter of having a good character, or being naturally inclined to do the right thing. Both sides provide valid arguments as to what is the most important when it comes to determining what a person good. My purpose in writing this paper is to distinguish between Kantian ethics and virtue ethics, and to then, show which theory is most accurate. Kantianism, which is derived from the moral philosopher Immanuel Kant, states that the only thing that is truly good is a good …show more content…
Reason is your capacity to act rationally, while rationality is what reason allows you to do. The purpose of reason is not to secure happiness. All of our faculties are designed to be the most effective means to their ends. Kantians believe that instinct would be more effective at securing happiness than reason would. As a result, the end of reason, or its purpose, cannot be to secure happiness. Reason is practiced and it functions to give us a good will. Since its purpose is not to secure happiness, the standards of a good will must be determined by reason itself. A good will does what it is supposed to do. It performs its duty. Therefore, the concept of duty must be something that can be had from rationality itself. It is of the nature of duties that they are binding on everyone equally. Our duty is to act only on those maxims that we can will to be a universal law. One must act only in ways that they would want everyone else to also act. So, a good will is one that acts because of its duty. There are a number of examples that show what is meant by this ideology. Person A and Person B are both cashiers. Person A gives back correct change because she knows that she couldn’t will that a store clerk always rips off their customers. On the other hand, Person B gives back the correct change because he knows that if he rips the customers off, they won’t come back to his store. Kantians would side with Person A because she is performing her good will because of

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