Saturday, September 28, 2019

Applying Kants Ethical Theory to Nursing

Applying Kants Ethical Theory to Nursing Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 in Kà ¶nigsberg, which is today the city of Kaliningrad in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast (Watkins, 2002). He was raised in a Pietist household that stressed intense religious devotion, personal humility, and a literal interpretation of the Bible (European Graduate School [EGS], 2010). Kant wrote numerous works in his lifetime but most of Kant’s work on ethics is presented in two works, The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals written in 1785, and the Critique of Practical Reason written in 1787 (McCormick, 2006). In order to understand Kant’s ethical views, his views on duty, reason, freedom, and good will should be explored. Freedom plays an important role in Kant’s ethics. A moral judgment presupposes freedom (McCormick, 2006). Also, freedom is a notion of reason, so without the assumption of freedom, reason cannot proceed. On the other hand, reason can only be satisfied with assumptions that practical observatio n cannot support. Reason seeks knowledge or understanding that it cannot comprehend (Williams, 2009). The question of moral action is an issue for rational beings. There is nothing in a rational beings character to waver. It will always match the dictate of reason. Humans are not wholly rational beings. We can either follow our natural instinct or non-rational impulse. Thus, rules of conduct are needed to guide human’s actions. Will is the ability to act according to the law. Outcomes of our actions are beyond our control. The only thing we can control is the will behind the action. Morality of an act must be assessed in terms of the impulse behind it. Kant says â€Å"good will† as the only thing unconditionally good because it cannot be used for ill purpose. Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the Categorical imperative. Categorical imperative is defined as the standard of rationality from which all moral requirements a re derived (Categorical imperative, 2007). It is an imperative because it is a command. It commands us to exercise our wills in a particular way. It is categorical because it is unconditionally and applies to everyone at all times (Hinman, 2006). CI requires an autonomous will. It is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant offered decisive grounds for viewing each person as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect. There are three maxims or categorical imperatives that Kant’s theory are based on. The first categorical imperative is Universalisability which states that, â€Å"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.† The second categorical imperative is the Law of Nature which states that, â€Å"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end.† The third categorical imperative is known as the Kingdom of Ends states that, â€Å"every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends† (Kant, n.d.,  ¶ 43).

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