Ethical Implications on Society: An Analysis of Wilkinson's "Inequality and Health"

Essay by LegalPhilsopherUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2006

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Ethics is about what we should or ought to do per se, and incubuses the motivation based on ideas of right and wrong (morals). It is a philosophy of human conduct, which raises issues within our society such as, inequality, justice, technology and health. Ethical theories tend to be of most importance in society, and play a valuable role in analysing the role of the State and its impact on individual's own autonomy. It would follow that economic inequalities within society, propose ethical dilemmas in the struggle between autonomy of the individual and the State.

Autonomy and the State

Ethicists generally agree about the central moral value of respect for autonomy. However, it should be noted that autonomy of an individual means "self-determination" rather than the political analogy of an independent State. Kant argues that ethics is closely bound to human free will; the capacity of people, merely to respond directly to external and internal stimuli as causes with particular decisions and actions as effects, but rather to be able to deliberate about such stimuli as reasons for actions.

In particular, respect to autonomy of the individual is developed in Kant's deontology theory, which he emphasises the main principle of rationally based maxims, which must conform to what Kant calls 'The Categorical Imperative'; a monistic theory of obligation. That is to say, it implies universality and the respect for the autonomy of other people. This theory (categorical imperative) requires that we should never treat people as mere ends to our own objectives. It would appear from this perspective, that the State, in deciding an appropriate course for action, should not interfere with the liberty of its citizens as mere ends to their own objectives, however, State intervention for the purpose of citizen well-being would be a valid interference...