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Examination of Differences in Kantian and Mach Ethics

Examination of Differences in Kantian and Mach Ethics


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 didn’t 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 Kant’s 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” (O’Neil). 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 doesn’t matter how this is accomplished. My personal view of Machiavellian ethics is a straightforward one. I do not like to support the attitude...

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