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Kantianism, Utilitarianism and Morality

1. How does Kant use our consciousness of moral obligation within the practical sphere to argue for the reality of noumena corresponding to the three so-called "Ideas of Pure Reason"? Why does he nevertheless deny that we can have knowledge of these 3 sorts of noumena?
2. On what fundamental basis would Kant object to Mill's utilitarianism, if it were offered as a theory of moral rightness? Defend Kant's view on the matter.
3. How might a Kantian and a utilitarian differ over the question of whether it is morally acceptable to commit suicide if one has "had enough of life"? Who has the better of the argument, and why exactly?
4. "The last thing in the world that Plato would gladly abide would be a Platon-ist; the last thing in the world that FN would be able to stomach would be a Nietzsche-an." Defend.
5. "There can be no doubt that bad conscience is a sickness, but so, in a sense, is pregnancy." Comment.

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Dear Student,
Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. The solution below should get you started. If you have any questions about it just let me know. The topic you are being asked is basically a discussion of Kantianism. I hope that you have reviewed this already and have understood it according to your class materials. If this is the case, then the solution below should be easy to understand. If not, may I advise visiting the online resource listed? They will explain some of these concepts further. The discussions below provide a direct answer to your questions. You can use ideas from them in your final answers but also make sure to include certain ideas from your class materials as this will ensure that your paper will be class-specific. Also, make sure to include ideas of your own especially in questions 4 and 5. Good luck. If you have any questions, just let me know via the feedback section and I'll be happy to clarify them for you. I have tried to make the answers as concise as possible.

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Kantianism & Ethics Q&A

1. How does Kant use our consciousness of moral obligation within the practical sphere to argue for the reality of noumena corresponding to the three so-called "Ideas of Pure Reason"? Why does he nevertheless deny that we can have knowledge of these 3 sorts of noumena?

Kant's work 'Critique of Pure Reason' is an attempt at the examination of the source/creation of human knowledge. He tries to relate this to notions of empirical and a priori knowledge to try and create a comprehensible system of knowledge creation. He believes that reality is divided into 2 realms - phenomenal and noumenal. Phenomena is that which we see, what we experience, what appears before us via our senses. Noumena is the presumption of 'things', abstract ideas, objects that constitute reality. For example, the breeze is of the phenomenal realm as we experience it via the senses where our experience of it, how we feel it blowing our hair, our clothes, the cooling movement of air is an a priori event. Mathematics on the other hand is in the noumenal realm is we know it not by our senses but as an abstract concept. It happens in our minds as ideas. Now, Kant proposes that only a metaphysical study can allow us to know the noumenal realm. A study of ethics belongs in the noumenal realm as ethics is an idea, not experienced via the senses. Moral obligation is learned as an abstract knowledge. But Kant argues that ideas of moral obligation manifest itself in the practical sphere in our actions. If we harken back to his ideas of the world as 'we know it' - substance, cause, community (how things relate), and if we come to accept ethics and moral obligation as a noumenal idea that has substance, cause and community then in society the noumenal idea of moral obligation is real, part of the social experience. We are conscious of our moral ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides assistance, insight, information and advise to help students tackle the 5 questions (see above) on the topic of ethics and ethical theories including Kantianism and utilitarianism. References are included in the solution.

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