Kant and Applied Ethics: The Uses and Limits of Kant's by Matthew C. Altman

By Matthew C. Altman

Kant and utilized Ethics makes a big contribution to Kant scholarship, illuminating the very important ethical parameters of key moral debates.Offers a severe research of Kant’s ethics, interrogating the theoretical bases of his thought and comparing their strengths and weaknessesExamines the controversies surrounding crucial moral discussions occurring this day, together with abortion, the demise penalty, and same-sex marriageJoins cutting edge thinkers in modern Kantian scholarship, together with Christine Korsgaard, Allen wooden, and Barbara Herman, in taking Kant’s philosophy in new and fascinating directionsClarifies Kant’s legacy for utilized ethics, supporting us to appreciate how those debates were established traditionally and offering us with the philosophical instruments to handle them

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Of course, there may be other reasons to minimize animal pain. For example, we may not like the idea of animals being in pain unnecessarily; we may feel for them, and we may feel happier when they are protected. But this is merely a preference. If this were the only consideration and our awareness of animal pain had no impact on our character, then the mere fact of their being in pain would be morally insignificant. For Kant, we have dignity because of our autonomy, not because we are sentient or have the capacity for preferences.

However, animals do not hold themselves to the moral law. To treat animals as ends in themselves, as Korsgaard instructs us to, would mean that we must advance their ends, but because such ends are “pursued by animals heteronomously, pathologically, and reactively . . ”49 In short, we cannot be morally bound by the ends that are set by nature. Kant demonstrates as much in the Groundwork. Such ends are conditionally good depending on what reason requires, which means that we only have indirect duties regarding animals depending on how our treatment of them affects us.

36 If Wood believes that a plant’s striving for self-preservation is not robust enough to be considered a “fragment” of rational nature, he does not give any reason for why that is. By isolating natural teleology as a sufficient condition of moral considerability, Wood and Korsgaard are appealing to the fact that something that develops or lives and grows continues to do so only under certain conditions, and that undermining those conditions thwarts the achievement of its aim. They follow the logic of environmental ethicists who claim that animals, species, and ecosystems have intrinsic value because things can be good or bad for them, given their organization and development.

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