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Applied ethics and social problemsMoral questions of birth, society and death$
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Tony Fitzpatrick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348609

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348609.001.0001

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(p.45) Three Right
Applied ethics and social problems

Tony Fitzpatrick

Policy Press

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

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