|Kant's Ethics are too cold and clinical Discuss
Author: Like-In-My-Dream PM
ETHICS -- ANALYTICAL question -- Kant's Ethics are too cold and clinical. Discuss. -- This is an essay I wrote for my A-level Ethics class -- I recieved an A for this Piece.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 879 - Published: 01-27-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2627665
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I figure that everyone wants help with their school work sometimes, as do I, so I decided to post some of my essays that I have written in the past for my philosophy and ethics course that I got full marks on.
PLEASE DO NOT copy this word for word as that would be plagerism, but I have found that looking back over these past essays and summarising the main points was very useful when it came to revision of all the arguments.
The essay question you are working on will most likely not be this exact question so copying it exactly will not help in the slightest except to make you look like an idiot.
Hope this is useful to all you aspiring philosophers out there :)
Kant's ethics are too cold and clinical. Discuss
Kantin ethics is an absolutist theory therefore suppresses any chance of acception through circumstances or outcome, in comparison with other theories (especially teleological theories), this could be seen as a very cold and clinical approach to ethics.
For Kant, the morally important thing is not consequences but the way choosers think when they make choices; one of the many reasons that Kant's approach is labelled as cold is because of his dismissive attitude when it comes to the inclination of some people's character to be good. It was Kant's belief that a person that acted morally out of a desire to help another would not be as praise-worthy as a person that acted under the maxim of duty. This would be acting out of inclination which is to do something because it makes you feel good or because you hope to gain something from it.
For example: a person who helped an old woman cross the road out of sympathetic kindness is not as worthy of praise as a person who did not want to help, but merely did so because it was their duty to help – 'Duty for duty's sake'
People who ridicule this method of determining 'good intent' would argue that acting purely out of duty is a very uncaring way to act. If everyone acted purely because of duty, (the way that Kant believed everyone should), then the world would be a very indifferent place and not only could nobody get joy out of helping another, but the person that was helped could never be thankful to the other because the helper acted only because of duty. This would lead to an extremely cold and indifferent society.
Kant believed in two realms of existence:
– Animals live in the phenomenal realm, following pure instinct without reason.
– God and angels live in the noumenal realm, they are perfectly rational beings
and do not have appetites or desires to distract them from objective moral law.
– Humans are in between these two realms and can lean towards either – desires and inclination (animal self) is in constant conflict with reason (Godlike self).
Kant's view was that humans should do all that they can to become like the angels in the noumenal realm, therefore suppressing those things that are animalistic within us. You could argue that this would include many of the things that make us human beings in the first place – feelings/emotions/desires. Because of this, it could be said that Kant's morality, when applied strictly, suppresses the humanity within a person. Emotions play no part in the decision making process which is denying something that is naturally within us as human beings. The suppression of emotion or inclination in the Kantian theory could definitely be deduced to be cold and clinical because feelings are actively suppressed to give way to objective reason and rationality.
It has been argued that when duties clash, it is not always immediately clear which is the most important duty to be adhered to, therefore we must use our imperfect, human intuition to decide which would be the best course of action, even though it cannot be guaranteed that this will be the right action. A classic ethical issue in medicine where this clash of duties is apparent is when a heavily pregnant woman is sure to die if she has her baby, but to save her you must kill the fetus – which person is it your duty to save?
Kant's ethics do not help in this situation because there is a complicated set of issues involved – many people, for example, do not believe a fetus is human until it is born, and there is also the issue choice on the part of the mother etc. Many more of these problems are raised in modern ethical issues, especially regarding medicine: e.g. euthanasia, abortion, assisted suicide.
The objective nature of Kantin ethics makes it weak against accusations of it being cold and clinical. It's deontological and absolute aspects are shared by other theories like natural law and the divine command theory, however I believe what makes it particularly cold is the way that it encourages actions that are motivated by reason and discourages moral actions that are performed under the maxim of inclination.
Other similar theories, although they sometimes require actions that could upset the person doing them, do not encourage indifference to emotions the way that Kantin ethics does.