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Kant says that we should never violate a person's autonomy.  How is this different...

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alanajohnson | Salutatorian

Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:51 PM via web

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Kant says that we should never violate a person's autonomy.  How is this different from the Utilitarian view?  

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:16 PM (Answer #1)

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This is different from the utilitarian view because the utilitarian view does not care what our motives are or how our actions toward another person affect them individually.  Instead, utilitarians believe that the good of the one person can be sacrificed for the good of the many.  The only thing that utilitarians demand is that the overall good should be increased by our actions.

Therefore, a utilitarian would say that it is acceptable to violate a person's autonomy and to treat them like a means rather than an end.  We may do so as long as our action would increase the overall amount of happiness for our society as a whole.

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