Human personhood, ethics, Kantian Ethics


What sets humans apart from all other creatures? If you were to approach a biological Homo sapiens with the question “what makes you human?” how would they respond? Do we have value simply as humans, or are we nothing more than what we offer the world? Philosophers have discussed these questions for centuries and it seems that there have been a few concrete conclusions. These conclusions depend on how one views ethical theory.

Ethical theory and personhood go hand-in-hand. Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest philosophers of the 18th Century, developed his moral philosophy in what is now known as Kantian Ethics. Using this viewpoint, we can argue that Kant’s opinion about personhood is more in line with an ontological perspective, based on three things: his idea of reason and human knowledge, an emphasis on moral duty, and the Humanity Formula.



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