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Kant: Ethics Must Be Based Purely on Reason

This assignment defines on justifications of Kant’s arguments that Ethics must be based purely on Reason. Ethics is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about what one believes. It is based on morality, reason and ability of human brain with an aim of attempting to shape or control scenario which is considered being ethical or not. This is done in a usual and orderly manner with the objective of practicing what would be termed as ethical or unethical.

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There are two categories of reasons according to Kant they include explanatory reasons these are considerations which explain why things have happened the way they happen and normative reasons are said to be a purpose that favors the action of an individual. The explanatory reason is illustrative and provides a detailed reason behind each occurrence. This is the main support which provides a good clarification on why things are as they are or they happen to be. However, normative reasoning tends to be more inclined to justify why an individual does something, this shows a clear identification of the reason which would have to lead the person to do it and justifies it.

According to Bruce, (2008) ethics usually defend, recommend, and systematize concepts of if the behavior is right or wrong. Ethics is divided into three groups as follows Meta-ethics which investigates where our ethical principles come from, Normative ethics which takes a more practical task and arrives at moral standards that regulate what is right or wrong depending on how they are conducted. Hence, showing the reason as to why a person behaves in a given manner at a given time. And lastly, applied ethics that involves the examining of specific controversial issues, such as capital punishment, abortion, environmental issues, and abortion.

Moral assessments involve our emotions and that’s where people mistake one another and therefore creating lots of differences amongst the people. For example when one says that “abortion is morally wrong”, it would generate a heated debate because it will depend on what would have lead to the abortion. If the reason behind it was done depending on recommendation by a physician on the medical ground then it would not be morally wrong. However, if the abortion was done because the mother didn’t want to carry the pregnancy to its maturity then it would be termed as morally wrong. It can also be considered a crime when the one carrying the pregnancy doesn’t want to take responsibility for the pregnancy.

According to Kant, anything that one does either ethical or unethical must be purely motivated by a given reason that will enable the person to react in that particular way (Murphy, 1970). Therefore, an action on its self cannot be termed as either being ethical or unethical but it depends on why the act was done. This is the motive behind doing such an act, the reason depending on the social set up and cultural background of where the act determines on whither it is ethical or unethical.

If an act is ethical or not would depend on the society or community definition of what is morally right or not. This would be defined by their cultural background, believes, norms or even the religion back ground of the society. That the reason why different societies have different definitions of what is moral or not depending on the reason why they do the act in considerations. With such understanding then it’s true to state that ethics would directly depend on the reason why a certain thing is done the way its being done.


Bruce, W. (2008). Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Pearson/Longman

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Murphy, J. (1970). Kant: The Philosophy of Right. Toronto: St. Martin’s Press

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 13). Kant: Ethics Must Be Based Purely on Reason.

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