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Kant & Abortion

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Sophie Castillo

on 27 March 2015

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Transcript of Kant & Abortion

Thank You!
Kantian ethics
Immanuel Kant based his beliefs on rationalism
He believed in an objective right and wrong based on reason
He believed that we should do things because they are right and not because they fulfill our own personal needs or desires
To test if an action is moral, we need to ask if we can say that it should be followed by everyone; it must be Universal.

Kantian Ethics
Kantian Ethics
Kant used practical reason to assess the morality of actions.
People have a natural sense of what they ought to do,based on evidence
Everyone has a sense of moral law within them.
Kant believes in acting on duty. Everyone feels a sense of duty and duty must be done for its own sake rather than for the sake of one's self or those around us. Doing a duty for any other reason than the duty itself is not a form of good will.

Abortion is the induced termination of a pregnancy

It is currently legal in the UK up to the 24th week of the pregnancy

Abortion can be an extremely controversial topic as it questions when life starts and consequently, is abortion a form of murder?

Abortion and Kantian Ethics
A key feature in Kant's argument is the categorical imperative.
The categorical imperative contains three things:
Universal maxims
Treating others as a mean to an end
Living in a Kingdom of Ends

Firstly, abortion would be hard to universalize because there are so many different situations and circumstances when it comes to abortion.

Kant disregards emotion when assessing morality and so the emotion involved in abortion would have to be ignored. However, abortion is a very emotional process and so this is difficult to ignore.

Kant would also ignore the stage of the pregnancy as he would focus on the duty itself rather than the consequences or emotion.

By Sophie Castillo
Kant & Abortion
Kant was an absolutist. This means that he believed that all actions were either right or wrong regardless of the situation.
He rejected cultural and subjective relativism
Kant focuses on the action itself rather than the consequences.
Abortion and Kantian Ethics
Overall, the whole argument dependent on when life begins. If the foetus is not regarded as a human being, then abortion doesn't count as using someone as a means to an end.
However, if the foetus is regarded as a person, abortion would be using the foetus as a means to and end as it would be in the interest of the mother or other people in most cases.
In addition, abortion would prevent the law against murder from being a universal law as if the foetus was regarded as a person, abortion would technically be murder and so how can one allow abortion but not allow murder?
Overall, a Kantian view on abortion would soley depend on whether or not the foetus is a person or not. As this is too difficult to determine and is down to opinion, it is too difficult to give an accurate or certain Kantian view on abortion.
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