ethicfinal1FINAL

ethicfinal1FINAL - Take Home Final Exam May 7th, 2007 Dr....

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Take Home Final Exam May 7 th , 2007 Dr. Gorman Honors Ethics
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Part I. Prompt B David Hume and Immanuel Kant, while both creative and intelligent philosophers in their own right, both seem to have a narrow field of vision in regards to the role of ethics in human life . Although Kant is quite different from Hume, the one thing that both seem to do is to cast away other’s ideas and purport their belief as the absolute truth . Whilst Kant relies more heavily on rationale and reasoning, Hume believes morals are based upon the human sentiment . In section I of An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals , Hume begins by coming to the realization that there is indeed two sides of the question of moral principles. He said that he feels the side that argues for reason is incorrect because if reason was the sole requirement for the formation of morals, than morals would never change. He says if reason was the ground for morals than morals would be a constant like the laws of mathematics. In section II, Hume begins to form his argument for why morals are not based on reason and why they are a variable based on sentiment. He states that benevolence is a good deed measured only by how it contributes to society and humanity. Later in section III, Hume says that the highest regarded of all virtues is justice. The utility of justice is unparalleled because it was created by humanity for the good of humanity. Even though a murdering rapist’s liberties are taken away when he is executed, it is not unjust because it is for the good of all society. Hume's point is that justice has evolved over the years through the different uses it has served different people. This utility of justice has been found to be true since the beginning of human society.
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Kant has a radically different theory of ethics. To begin with, Kant believes a good will is intrinsically good in itself. As opposed to Hume, which thinks that a will's goodness depends on its outcome, Kant believes a will could hypothetically have disastrous results, yet still be considered good. Kant's argument to Hume is the example that a man could attempt to do something selfish or evil and still have a good outcome. Is this still considered good will? Kant would say no. Even though Kant believes that the average citizen is not aware of moral law, he says that most humans act morally by intuition. He says that with our human moral intuition along with an understanding and knowledge of morals we could do the right thing that we might not otherwise have done in nature. In the second section, Kant bring to light his idea of the categorical imperative. It is “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant). For every action that a rational person performs, the categorical imperative states that it should be a universal law and should be applicable to all human beings. Rational beings should think of themselves as the “end” and not simply as a means to an end. Basically, Kant believes
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2008 for the course HON 3347 taught by Professor Gorman during the Spring '07 term at Texas State.

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ethicfinal1FINAL - Take Home Final Exam May 7th, 2007 Dr....

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