Deontological Essay

Kant and Deontological Theory Essay

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Kant and Deontological Theory

Immanuel Kant was a moral philosopher. His theory, better known as deontological theory, holds that intent, reason, rationality, and good will are motivating factors in the ethical decision making process. The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain major elements of his theory, its essential points, how it is used in the decision making process, and how it intersects with the teams values. While Kant’s theory may seem “overly optimistic” (Johnson, 2008) now, it was ruled as acceptable and rational behavior then. Kant believed that any moral or ethical decision could be achieved with consistent behavior. While judgment was based on reason, morals were based on rational choices made by human…show more content…

The subject of good will for Kant is controversial. Kant believes that good will is not based on a reaction to the consequences, either negative or positive, merely by the intention of which the act was made. When an action is done in good will, the reasoning is not emotional (Johnson, 2008). It does not done out of sympathy or empathy for the individual, rather by a sense of duty. This is the controversial part because many believe that while good will is based on positive intentions, the act is performed through a feeling of love for the fellow man. Kant believes that good will focuses on all human beings regardless of feelings of love, friendship, bond, hatred, or lack of caring. This is why the best way to describe it is duty. However, Kant was not implying that no other motivating factor fuels good will. He was simply stating that when there is a dilemma that has the individual questioning the good will or morality of a decision that it is best to look at it from an unbiased view (Johnson, 2008). Removing emotional attachment from the situation has already proven to be helpful in making rational decisions in an otherwise difficult moment. According to Kant, imperatives are principles determining what individuals should do. These imperatives may be divided as those which are categorical, and those which are hypothetical; the former expresses imperatives that are those

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In places where there are interactions among people, ethics become one of the most important principles that guide the behaviour, decision making, and evaluating the conduct of the people. Deontological theory is used to evaluate ethics and guide people for ethical considerations. Gender ethics is one of ethical issues that is most prevalent in the society where women live is a society that denies them education, economic, and marital equity. Hence, ethics can be said to be the principles by which people live by in the society. This paper will discuss the deontological theory and how it is applied in gender ethical issues such as economic, educational, and marital equity that are prevalent in most societies.

In most education insinuations across the world, admission is in part based on gender and in part in merits, which questions the ethical practice. Gender issues have led to some students been denied chances to get quality education in schools of their choice (Willingham, & Cole2013). Although the issue can be seen as ethical as the schools try to admit students while balancing the gender, it is unethical behaviour on the deontological theory point of view. Male students may be denied a chance for quality education at the expense of a female student. The society expects that a student who has passed his examinations should be in a position to secure the position of a good school and obtain quality education. Deontologists argue that, in order for the schools to portray good gender ethics, it should not discriminate in terms of gender but it should consider merits for its admissions.

Gender issues concerning economic equity in work place have been perceived as the most ethical dilemma that organizations face. Some organizations discriminate women in terms of wages and employments (Baker et al., 2009). Women are paid unfair wages while some are denied employment positions based on gender. The gender discrimination can be considered as unethical on the point of view of deontological theory. In this theory, people do right to other people because the societies uphold it as corrects. In this situation, it would be ethically correct not to discriminate women based on gender since the society does not prescribe to that behaviour. On the other hand, offering competitive remunerations and employing people on merits is a socially accepted behaviour and thus follow deontological theory.

Consequently, most societies regard women as lesser being when it comes to marital affaires. Women are denied rights to marital make decisions and hence they are bound by the status and the power of their husbands (Baker et al., 2009). Moreover, their roles in the family are only seen as to involve household chores and not any other occupation that is male-oriented. In deontological point of view, this is unethical behaviour and male and female should have equal rights in making marital decisions and supporting families.

The strength of deontological theory is that it mandates people to be consistent in doing the right things. That is deontologists try to be consistent with their behaviour because they believe of what is morally upright (Ess, 2008). Hence, the theory can help to address the gender ethics issues across the society in that it helps people in the society to do the right thing irrespective of their situations. For example, when a person knows that discrimination based on gender is morally wrong, the person may live to protect gender equality and always avoid discrimination. In addition, the theory results in a responsible society where each person knows his or her moral obligations and strives to meet them without failure. The conflicts that may arise from the unethical behaviours as a result of people failing to meet their moral obligations is eliminated.

The weakness of this theory is that is does not explain how one can ethically act when he or she encounters two moral obligations. It only defines absolute situations. In gender ethics, an employer may employ a female worker for other reasons rather than moral obligations in disguise of gender equality. For example, a female worker may be employed for sexual favours although she is qualified based on merits. This means that the employee could have employed the worker on merits but he has other reasons. Although the employee can be seen to have acted based on moral obligations, he was unethical due to preformed hiring motives. Hence, from this situation it is evident that there is a conflicting moral obligation, which the theory has not factored in when evaluating the ethical behaviours in the society (Thomasma, 2009).


              From the paper, it is evident that gender ethical issues are one of the major ethical problems in the society. It is experienced in economic, education, and marital situations. Deontological theory tries to explain how people can act based on their moral obligations. In gender ethics, moral obligations will involve gender equality in economic, marital, and education fields. Deontologists uphold gender equality in the society since it is a moral obligation. The strength of this theory is that it helps the society to be consistent in its behaviour. However, the weakness of the theory is that it only defines absolute situations and fails to explain situations where moral obligations may be conflicting.


Baker, E. H., Sanchez, L. A., Nock, S. L., & Wright, J. D. (2009). Covenant marriage and the sanctification of gendered marital roles. Journal of Family Issues, 30(2), 147-178.

Ess, C. (2008). Culture and global networks: hope for a global ethics. Information technology and moral philosophy, 195, 225.Thomasma, D. C. (2009). Theories of medical ethics: the philosophical structure. Military Medical Ethics, 1, 23-60.

Willingham, W. W., & Cole, N. S. (2013). Gender and fair assessment. Routledge.

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