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Kantian ethics


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An approach to moral questions deriving from the teachings and writing of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). It is characterized by an emphasis on the rational endeavour of determining what is right. In particular, attention to the inner morality of the individual is integral to achieving freedom (see autonomy). Moral determination depends on reason (rather than personal wants or feelings) and the absolute nature of duty, which is always applicable (see imperative). Kantian ethics deny consequentialism; acts are to be judged by their accordance with universal principles rather than their good or bad consequences (see deontology). The Kantian tradition has been influential in medical ethics and finds translation in normative professional codes, and its insistence that every human life must be treated as an end in itself and not simply as a means continues to inform contemporary ethical practice.


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