Jury Paper on Critical Thinking
Immanuel Kant is the contemporary philosopher chosen for this paper’s critique. Plato and Aristotle are the selected Jury, and the field of philosophy in which the criticism is framed is ethics.
Kantian ethics is a deontological morality philosophy in which the rightness or wrongness of an action is not always determined by the outcome or consequences (Nellickappilly 1). People have a habit of carrying out their responsibilities. Immanuel Kant devised the Categorical Imperative theory, which he viewed as the supreme ethical precept (Johnson and Cureton 1). Kant believed that such types of behavior cannot be accepted and are unethical even if they produce the greatest happiness when compared to the alternative. For example, stealing, killing and lying are prohibited actions in ethics. When acting, Kantian ethics requires people to ask and answer themselves two questions including whether can the individual rationally prove that everyone act as he or she propose to act? And doe the action respect the objective of the human beings instead of mere utilization of them for personal benefits? When the answers to these two questions are wrong then the action is unethical and a person should not do it. Therefore, Kant requires persons to act only in a way that one can prove that such an action can become a universal law of nature. Other people or any other reasonable person will act as proposed by an individual considering all situations. For example, Killing in any situation is not acceptable and therefore, it is unethical.
Plato and Aristotle will have a different view towards the argument of Kant on ethical actions. The two philosophers believe in virtue ethics and will disagree with Kant in his view of an ethical action. According to Plato, in any action that people do, they should hold highest the well being of humans in terms of thought and conduct. Virtues are the only source of will to achieve that aim of respecting the well-being of humans. For example, to be ethical, Plato emphasizes on human beings rightly cultivating the inner and harmonious wellness of life at all time. It is all about achieving happiness by pursuing the virtues of courage, justice, temperance and prudence (Frede 1). Aristotle argues that every person must exercise and balance two types of extremes when applying virtues in their actions including intellectual and moral. Developing and practicing these characteristics is important to remain ethical in whatever a person does. In answering Kant, Plato and Aristotle would ask him the applicability of the rule, categorical imperative that should guide a person to act ethically regardless of the situation. For example, the categorical imperative rule is not applicable in the act of lying. Plato and Aristotle would ask Plato, what if lying is the only alternative remaining to safe an individual or do much more good for humanity? Here, we find that lying is the only alternative for achieving the greatest good for humanity. Kantians ethics is not applicable in such a situation since the individual will have the only choice of lying to pursue human welfare. Lying will be the maxim here as per Kant and it will do good for humanity. To Aristotle and Plato, virtue ethics will apply in this situation. Pursue justice, morality, intellectual, prudence, and courage as virtues of acting ethically. Lying will not be an option in the above case when it comes to Plato and Aristotle. Plato will require Kant to promote the virtue of prudence and justice in the event of lying. Aristotle will ask Kant to balance between two extremes where moral actions will follow intellectual weighing of options (Apeth 10).
In conclusion, from the discussion, I agree more with the juries views of ethics. Platos and Aristotles ethics are applicable universally unlike Kantian ethics that may be limited to following the rule of categorical imperative. Like in the given example, pursuing the maxim in the act of lying when it is the only alternative remaining will not be applicable in Kantian ethics. However, in Platos and Aristotles ethics, a person does not need to lie but pursue the inborn virtue to act ethically. Further, balancing the extremes will provide the best solution in acting ethically in all situations that people will face on their daily living.
Apeth, Arete, Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue, Excellence and Good, n.d, The Web
< http://www.cabrillo.edu/~cclose/docs/Aristotle%20Ethics.pdf >
Frede, Dorothea, Plato’s Ethics: An Overview, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
2013, The Web < https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-ethics/ >
Johnson, Robert, and Cureton, Adam, Kant’s Moral Philosophy, The Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy, 2016, The Web < https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/ >
Nellickappilly, Sreekumar, Chapter 23: Immanuel Kants Ethical Theory Aspects of Western
Philosophy, 2013, The Web < http://nptel.ac.in/courses/109106051/Module%203/Chapter%2023.pdf >