Tony Fitzpatrick

in Applied ethics and social problems

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9781861348609
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301479 | DOI:

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The focus of this chapter is the classic expression of deontological thinking known as Kantianism. Kantian virtue consists of an inner strength, the disposition of free beings to constrain themselves. It stipulates that the freedom to choose in accordance with the moral laws of universal reason (the right) therefore predominates over the particular content and values of the choices we make at any one time (the good). The question then focuses on how convincing Kant's ethics are. Despite several criticisms of Kant's ethics, this chapter demonstrates that Kantianism does not exclude the good, it only omits the possibility of giving final priority to the good. Kantianism argues that people must look beyond such contingency to that which can be generalised across all circumstances. In the domain of applied ethics, this means that one's decisions should not vary according to cultural and geographical differences.

Keywords: Kantianism; applied ethics; moral laws; geographical differences; free beings

Chapter.  7632 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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