It approaches the topic basically from two perspectives, namely, the Kantian ethical standards that are closely related with basic moral spirits and the utilitarian perspective. This paper is divided into five sections including this introduction. In the next section a discussion of Kantian ethics, especially with regard to the two types of imperatives that he first mentioned in his Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, is undertaken. In the third section the ethical aspects of the use of child labour, especially in the developing countries, and in the fourth section the problems associated with utilitarianism is discussed. The fifth section concludes the paper.
In Section II of Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant explains the capacity of will as practical reason – the ability to cause actions according to principles the agent represents to himself – and principles thought of as applying to the will objectively as a matter of rationality are represented in the form of imperatives (Kant 1989). He formulated two types of imperatives. According to him
. . . all imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. The former present the practical necessity of a possible action as a means to achieving something else which one desires (or which one may possibly desire). The categorical imperative would be one which presented an action as of itself objectively necessary, without regard to any other end. (Kant 1989).
Hence categorical imperative in Kantian ethics presents one with an unconditional formula to differentiate between moral and amoral, and ethical and unethical practices and actions. The first formulation of categorical imperative is “Act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”. Implicit in this formulation is the 1) a priori character of categorical imperative, 2) the test of prudence of reason and the wills, and 3)