The concept of deontology has long been discussed by various philosophers and scientists. At the moment, there are supporters of the theory, such as Emmanuel Kant and his followers, and there supporters of the Utilitarian theory, who argue its mere points. The paper seeks to discuss the main points of Kant’s deontological theory and his definition of a moral agent, and analyze cases in which it can be applied, in order to support the view that in order achieve ethical consensus, human moral values should be developed. So far, humans still ignore the moral autonomy to achieve something that is useful for particular people or society, but human lives should not be manipulated, as well as their body should not be used without their consent.
According to Kant, a moral agent is a being who has his moral autonomy to act in terms of his will and duties. At the center of Kant’s ethical system lies the statement that moral laws are categorical and not dependent on one’s desires. They are the rules that are created for all rational beings and cannot be changed and influenced by anyone. Therefore, moral acts that one accomplishes ought to be estimated not by their results and consequences, but rather by the principles on which the person relied while accomplishing them. Thus, the good can only be realized by the principle of good will, which has to be influenced by the perfect duty. The ideal point is to achieve unconditional good, which is only possible to realize in a rational being. Unconditional good, which heavily relies on moral, is nothing else than a conception of universal law.
In a broad sense, by the definition of moral agency as autonomy to live according to a universally moral system, Kant expressed an idea that every human is an autonomous being worth respect and dignity, and that he or she must never be manipulated or treated as useful for society. He also states that as all moral agents rationally will themselves to be an end and never a means, it is obligatory to treat them as such. One cannot but agree that Kant’s views of moral agency represent his particularly ideal view of natural beings. However, it is evident that the contemporary society is far from the ideal one nowadays. Morality is something that seems to extinct and humans, as well as animals, are often used as means, not ends. However, in any case, no one is has right to manipulate other people’s lives.
In a situation, where a person survived the HIV virus, Kant would say that the body of the person who survived the virus cannot be used for any further experiments and tests, and support the person in his refusal to take part in further research. Utilitarian, on the contrary, would say that the person who survived the virus is obliged to take part in the research, as its results could save millions of lives of other patients who have been infected with the same virus.
To better understand the ethical aspect of the situation, one should seek for a patient’s consent to do the research. Without his or her consent, Kant’s theory should be applied. Otherwise, this would be a violation of natural human rights. Therefore, the patient should be explained why the research is of particular importance, and how much it would help further investigations. However, in case of his refusal, it would be more ethically right to apply Kant’s theory.
To conclude, Kant’s view and formulation of deontology is that one should always consider the point of humanity in one’s actions. His main point is that the aim does not justify the means. One cannot use other person in order to achieve his or her own goal, even if this goal could save other people’s lives. Therefore, humans should be treated fully as autonomous and rational beings, according to their feelings and thoughts.
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