Chapter

Would Kant Say we should Respect Autonomy?

Richard Dean

in The Value of Humanity in Kant's Moral Theory

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780199285723
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603938 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199285721.003.0010
 Would Kant Say we should Respect Autonomy?

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The principle of respect for autonomy that is employed in medical ethics and other branches of applied ethics is widely taken to be a roughly Kantian principle, but there actually is no close connection between this currently influential principle and Kant’s ethics. Kant’s conception of autonomy differs from the conception prevalent in medical ethics, not only in its details but also in its fundamental role in moral theory. The principle of treating humanity as an end in itself does not closely resemble the contemporary principle of respect for autonomy, although the principles would in fact be similar if some minimal readings of the humanity formulation were correct. Furthermore, there is some reason to favour the moral principle of treating good will as an end in itself over any principle that gives central status to mere choice.

Keywords: applied ethics; autonomy; humanity formulation; medical ethics; moral principle; respect for autonomy

Chapter.  13665 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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