In your class discussions, we learned the basic
aspects of Kantian and Machiavellian Ethical
standards. I found that it is fairly easy to
establish a basic attitude on the subject,
depending on how a specific person handles the
situations in their life. I chose my preferred
ethical standard rather quickly. I did, however,
decide to further research the subject and see if
I was missing any information. It didnt take very
much research to find a great deal of writing on
the subject. In a short time I found that the
intricacies of these two ethical classifications
are quite well examined by many people, and can be
quite open to interpretation.
After looking deeper
into these philosophies, my beliefs only grew
stronger. I believe that Kantian ethical values
are the superior form of ethics. For most people,
Kantian type values are given to us beginning at a
very young age. We are taught to treat others as
we would like to be treated. This is referred to
as The Golden Rule. It is a basic overtone in
Kants writings, although not specifically stated.
It does, however, seem to apply to the moral
standards of this belief.
A maxim or rule
governing an action which cannot be universalized
is unacceptable (An Ethic of Duty). The Golden
Rule seems a perfect fit. When we are young,
treating people good is always emphasized. This is
especially true in early grade school where
anti-social behavior is punished quickly. Act by
treating people, you own person and others, always
as an end in itself, never merely a means to an
end (ONeil). Obviously, at that age we are far too
young to understand what that means.
But we can
still grasp the concept of treating people fairly
and not hurting their feelings or hurting them
physically. Machiavellian ethics can be fairly
easily summarized. To be called a Machiavellian is
to be equated with power seeking, political
cunning, and a controllable hypocrisy (Jarvis). I
use the word opportunism to describe it. The goal
of life is what you get out of it, and it doesnt
matter how this is accomplished. My personal view
of Machiavellian ethics is a straightforward one.
I do not like to support the attitude that some
people have that are in life for what they could
get out of it, and will do whatever they can to
get what they want.
This is my impression of the
basic Machiavellian ethical system. I have never
believed that The ends justify the means (Singer).
Even though a Machiavellian might be under the
impression that he actions are benefiting himself,
in the end these standards are self-defeating. Of
course, no one is perfect. Everyone is human and
wants to get ahead of their fellow man. Contrary
to this, I believe that people should try their
best to avoid this behavior. What you put into
life is what you get out of it.
My experience with
life is that it often seems unfair, but in the end
is just. Ethics are very closely related to
religion in many ways. Both are occupied with the
treatment of others and how everyday situations
should be handled. There are, however, some
disputes between the two. One of the most
difficult distinctions involves Dogma. The article
Introduction to Objectivism by Katz states that a
rational ethics cannot be based on an epistemology
of revelation and eternal ignorance or a
metaphysics of illusion.
rules. It does not evaluate their validity upon
any basis other than god’s supposed will. The word
for this is dogma and it is quite accurate.
Basically what this means is that the reasoning
displayed by many religious group that an action
is Gods will or something similar is not viable
because it is not objective or practical. Both
views revolve around the concept of good will.
Under strict Kantian standards, if an action is
not motivated by good will, it is wrong (Grolier).
I believe that this is something everyone should
decide on their own. In conclusion, I want to
state that there are many situations where these
standards can be argued. If your girlfriend or
wife asks you if she is getting fat, is it okay to
tell a lie? Situations like this make these
standards difficult to assess.
There may not be a
right or wrong. It is also clear that even the
best Kantian cannot follow the ethics perfectly.
This is not the point of the standards; they are
there to provide guidelines. The closer we get the
better we are doing. I believe that if everyone
considered basic Kantian values in their daily
interactions and attempted to follow them, the
world would be a better place..
Research essay sample on Examination Of Differences In Kantian And Mach Ethics