Kantanian Approach to Spencer's Theory of Social Darwinism

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  1. Introduction
  2. Approaches
  3. Kantian
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People tends to support those who are disable, elderly or such. Back in the 1980s, English philosopher Hebert Spencer came up with the idea of survival of the fittest and natural selection in his book Principle of Biology. (Herbert 1864) Those two are the essential idea of laws of evolution, also known as the Social Darwinism. It described that the biologic concept is able to fits into human society, where the one has strong power and wealth should be getting more, and the weak and little wealth should be getting less until they fade out of the human society. Social Darwinism idea is still a popular topic amount philosopher and social scientist. In our modern daily life, Social Darwinism doesn’t seem like to work, e.g., There are parking space spicily for those who are disable, some people tend to give their set to the elderly on the bus and so on. And it makes me wonder that what is our civil responsibility, in order to answer this question, we need to define what civic responsibility is. Civic responsibility can be defined as active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good. Base on the above, this frame work will present two different approaches in terms of understanding the behavior and psychology behind what our responsibility is. Despite many philosophical theories, this paper only focusses on Kant’s moral code and Utilitarian idea, then compare and analysis.



Eighteen-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant argues that a person is good or bad depending on the motivation of their actions and not on the goodness of the consequences of those actions. In another word, in order to decide whether a thing is right or not, there has to be a reason to it. In his book Critique of Pure Reason, (781) Kant came up with the idea of categorical imperatives, which defined as commands you must follow, regardless of your desires. moral obligations are derived from pure reason. and the categorical imperative are divided in to four formulations, one of them is the formula of humanity, “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a mere means.' (Kant) Mere means can be described as to use it only for your own benefit, with no thought to the interests or benefit of the thing you are using.

Get back to the interpterion of Kant’s moral code to civic responsibility, if one could answer yes to those the two following questions, first, “Can I rationally will that everyone act as I propose to act?” and “Does my action respect the goals of human beings rather than merely using them for my own purposes?” According to Kant, I am not a morally worthy person because I did this, after all I just did whatever I thought would be the most fun and there is nothing admirable about such a selfish pursuit. It was just lucky for those charities that I thought giving away money was fun. Moral worth only comes when you do something because you know that it is your duty and you would do it regardless of whether you liked it.

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