Kant's Principle of Humanity: The Second Categorical Imperative

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"Act that you use humanity, whether in your person or in another, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means." This is the translation of Immanuel Kant 's second categorical imperative which was also known as 'Mere Means Principle ' or 'The Principle of Humanity '. This principle put forth by the great philosopher attempts to give us parameters on, when using people is justified and when it is not. Using other people for our personal benefit cannot be justified morally. Their desires, wishes and intentions also need to be taken into consideration and need to be given equal weight like ours. It is essential for us as human beings to honour their humanity which places limits on what we can do to…show more content…
When we think of using human beings as means to an end we need to keep two things in mind, would we be wanting them to treat us the way we treat them and does humanity permit us to use them. In the case of bombing Hiroshima and killing non combatants it would be substantive to give a thought to the innocent civilians who were killed along with the non combatants and would the Americans want to be killed in the same manner as they did in order to end the war. Such extreme measures cant be morally justified as they are inhumane and abominable. The Americans used the Japanese to end the war and in the process killed a large number of non combatants who may not have anything to do with the war. This is an act of injustice, it is unfair to the innocent people who were killed. Rationality and Reasonableness also come into play here. When we talk about human beings we mean rational beings and “treating them as ends-in-themselves" means respecting their rationality. The reasonableness of a person would not allow him/her to manipulate and use people for his/her purpose, no matter how good and noble the purpose maybe. If we use people for our purpose it defeats the idea of the purpose being 'noble ' in the first place. Thus it is not

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