Something on Kant

Essay by polstallionUniversity, Bachelor's January 2008

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"Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world" (Immanuel Kant). Many philosophers have many different theories to idea of ethics and what exactly we as humans have the rights to. In both the Kant and ethics to rights chapter they share the similarities of absolute rights and humans ability of free choice and conversely see humans right for needs, positive and negative rights, and Kants clash with utilitarianism.

One characteristic the two theories hold in common is the idea of equality towards mankind and the universal law of an absolute right. In the ethics of rights chapter, one of the rights that Hinman explains we are all entitled to is an absolute right, "the right to life, for example, may be an absolute right" (208). An absolute right gives no one the justification of killing someone else for any reason.

Even though there are many examples where government and social groups are at fault with breaking the absolute right, we need to acknowledge that every human has the right to life. "Many theorists…claiming that people have certain fundamental rights even if their government and society fail to acknowledge those rights" (209). For example, the Nazi's victimized many Jews, Poles, and Russians. While it was legal for the Nazi's to oppress these groups, it did not make it right. Kant also agrees with the theory of absolute and natural rights. Kant's theory of categorical imperative states, "Always act in such a way that you can will that the maxim behind your action be adopted as a universal law" (182). In layman's terms, he is saying live your life in a way that your ethics are unconditional and universal. That is why he would agree with the theory of absolute rights,