Kantian Utilitarian And Virtue Ethics Analysis

1006 Words5 Pages
Win Ma
PH-211: Ethics
Jo Jo Koo

“Let Your Kids Grow Up”: Kantian, Utilitarian, and Virtue Ethics Response to Parental-Child Upbringing of the Disabled

It is common for parents to make their children become independent when the children reach adulthood. However, disabled children’s parents are hesitant to let their children become independent. To see what the parent should do I consider responses from three ethical systems: Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism, and Virtue Ethics. As I will show, all three ethics show disabled children’s parents should make their child independent. However, I will then argue the utilitarian position is more persuasive. Finally I will give my personal opinion about why I value independence. The utilitarian advises
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The principle of humanity says: treat humans as ends but never as mere means. (Shafer-Landau, 169) The principle of humanity is a type of universal maxim, a law that applies to all humans. By definition, making a child dependent violates its autonomy: or capacity to morally decide. For Kant, to possess this capacity requires possession of reason. Reason and emotion are the only two capacities that exist. He argues that emotion is unreliable so we should rely on reason (Pojman and Vaughn, 296-298) By eliminating children’s autonomy, parents treat children as mere means to an end. Kantians cannot distinguish between normal parents and parents of disabled children, since the categorical imperative is an unconditional command. (Shafer-Landau, 155) Violating it would give superior status to other children and that is unfair. We must act fairly because Kant assumes humans possess equal rationality. (Shafer, Landau, 183) For Kant if we are irrational, then we act with ill intentions. Kantians thereby say the parent should make their disabled child…show more content…
The virtuous person is someone who possesses ideal attributes the learner of virtue can emulate. The virtue of a virtuous parent would be benevolence, responsibility, and tolerance. Virtuous parents are benevolent because they want their children to be happy. Virtuous parents are responsible so that they can demonstrate to children they are competent in their parenting. Virtuous parents are tolerant so that they can appreciate their child’s needs. Two of these virtues correspond to the character of an independent person as well. An independent person must be responsible and tolerant to function in society. Virtue Ethics would therefore say parents of disabled children should make their children

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