This paper will highlight and analyze the similarities and differences between Kant and Aquinas’ concepts of ethics and the moral value of actions. The positive and negative aspects of both concepts will then be analyzed for their application to a culturally diverse society.
Both Kant and Aquinas attach a great significance to the role of practical reason in ethical life. Among other similarities in thinking, both philosophers emphasize on the importance of law in ethics and both make claims that certain kinds of actions are good and evil in them selves (Hinton, 2002).
Practical reason refers to the general human capacity for resolving through reflection, the question of what to do. It considers a set of alternatives to determine what ought to be done (Wallace, 2003). Kant and Aquinas agreed that ethics are derived from practical reasoning and suggested that this concept allows one to distinguish good actions from bad ones.
Emphasizing the importance of law in ethics, Aquinas establishes the concept of Natural Law which refers to ones compliance to the order of reason which directs the will. Kant focuses on the concept of Universal law emphasizing that one is obliged to conform to duty by laws that be relevant to us.
The dissimilarity among the concepts of right the thinking of Aquinas and Kant emerge the very basic level of the fundamentals of ethics. Aquinas held that what is good should always hold superiority over what is right. Kant on the other hand discarded this dogma with his own core concept of ethics. He believed that what is right should always hold priority over what is good. His concepts of ethics were based on the thought that moral obligation should be consequential of nothing other than duty. Kant believed the notion of duty to be supreme. For him an action held no moral importance if it was not backed by the motive of duty.
Aquinas and Kant’s principles of ethics also differed in terms of