Immanuel So, in Kant’s moral theory it is

Immanuel Kant argued that the most important part of morality is a standard of rationality. With this being said he created something called the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative has three major formulations. Of relevance to this essay is the second formulation: “Act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person, or in the person person go another, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.”(Dieser, 2017) This means that we should treat people the way that we would want to be treated. We are intended to treat people with respect due to the fact that we are autonomous beings. Being autonomous is an individual’s ability for self-determination or self-governance. It allows us as human beings to have the freedom to pursue our own goals thought the categorical imperative. Kant believed that being autonomous is very important and valuable, but in order to have it one must have free will. This requires one to have self-consciousness and the capacity to be guided by reason. In addition there is a certain ability that we as humans have, but animals lack. This ability is the ability to to look at our desires and choose the proper course of action. Yes, humans and animas both have desires that we can turn into actions but it is the ability to choose the right choice that is at stake. (Wilson, n.d.)This ability is due to our ability to use will in the presence of morally permissible actions when the circumstance arises. So, in Kant’s moral theory it is important to understand where animals lie within the idea of will. Kant said that because animals lack this ability they are not autonomous beings. Therefore the categorical imperative does not apply to animals as well as they are not rational beings.   
Although Kant argued that non-human animals did not have direct moral consideration, I disagree with what Kant says due to the fact that although we are completely different species we all live a similar life. By this I mean that both humans and animals experience both pain and pleasure, are both aware of our own existence and context, prefer to live a pleasurable life, and finally both prefer to live rather than die (BBC, n.d.). In society, we tend to take advantage of animals and use them for things such as food and clothing but these actions are not justifiable because we are using another being to our advantage. The animals are still suffering from these acts that we do, but we all still share the same interest in minimizing suffering and maximizing pleasure.(Veganism, n.d.) If humans believe in minimizing suffering and maximizing pleasure we should have the moral duty to treat all beings with the same respect. Along with my opinions, Jeremy Bentham would have disagreed with Kant’s view on the matter as well. Bentham was the creator of utilitarianism which focused on the amount of happiness that an act gave. He believed in completing acts to give the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. The idea of happiness looked at both human and animal happiness. Bentham was the philosopher who changed the minds of others on the idea of moral consideration for animals. He made the point that instead of looking at animals being inferior to humans, we ought to ask: “The question is not can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But can they suffer?”(Utilitarianism, n.d.). This simply means if something is able so suffer it must have moral consideration. Therefore when he looks at animals he believes that because they can suffer there happiness and wellbeing is relevant and due to this they do in fact have moral consideration.
Kant would respond to Bentham in the following way. There is a large difference between autonomy and heteronomy. Autonomy is when one has complete control over their life and is completely self-governed. Heteronomy is when one’s actions are influenced by someone or something other than the person completing the action. Kant said if you focus on your own pleasures and pain it has nothing to do with morality – you’re in the back seat letting your pleasures take over. Being utilitarian means that you follow your desires. This makes a utilitarian heteronomous. Kant believed that because Bentham’s utilitarianism would be heteronomous, and because the would mean they let their desires take over, there is no way in order for you to act freely. Without being able to act freely your to acting moral ultimately meaning that non-human animals do not have direct moral consideration.
Bentham would respond that there is a way for one to still act freely while being utilitarian. Bentham had a different definition of freedom than Kant. Due to the fact that Bentham focused his theories on freedom and the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people, he believed that freedom meant something different than what Kant had stated. Bentham looked at freedom in a way that meant that you can pick pleasure and avoid pain. Freedom consisted of removing obstacles to the fulfillment of our desires. Therefore, if we are still able to be free while being utilitarian then non-human animals do have moral consideration. 

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