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What are the similarities and differences of  the ethical theories of Aristotle and...

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lcowan6 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted December 3, 2012 at 7:10 PM via web

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What are the similarities and differences of  the ethical theories of Aristotle and Immanuel Kant?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:07 AM (Answer #1)

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Aristotle and Immanuel Kant are similar in their aapproaches to ethics in so far as they both admire reason or rationality. Also, their ethics, although admitting of the existence of a deity, are, to a large degree, secular, in the sense that though a deity is posited in both, divine revelation or Scriptural texts are not significant starting points for their ethical theories.

The first main difference is that Aristotle creates a form of virtue ethics in which the highest goal is eudaimonia (living well or thriving). Kant, on the other hand, creates a deontological ethics in which the highest good is acting according to a sense of duty alone and following absolute principles. 


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thetall | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted March 3, 2015 at 9:05 AM (Answer #2)

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There are several similarities and differences in the ethical theories of Aristotle and Kant as will be highlighted below.


  1. Both believe that morality is achieved by actions which seek the highest good
  2. Both believe that reason should be employed in determining actions
  3. Both believe that some actions are intrinsically evil


  1. According to Kant, consequences of an action are irrelevant in determining whether an action is moral or not where as Aristotle asserts that we can face consequences of voluntary actions
  2. For Aristotle, the highest good is happiness which is achieved through virtuous actions whereas Kant believes that good will is the only virtue and is achieved through duty
  3. For Kant, morality is defined by the performance of one’s duties compared to Aristotle who asserts that morality is determined by virtuous actions


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