Kant, Lewis, means and ends

In looking for  a normative foundation for clinical ethics, I have been reading both Immanuel Kant (the proponent for a “deontological” approach to ethics…an ethic which sees as a greatest good an act which is least self interested (done for the sake of duty and if repeated should be able to be accepted universally as a “maxim”) and CS Lewis (a proponent 0f the moral argument as metaphysical apriori).  In the Metaphysics of Ethics, Kant emphasizes that moral actors and recipients should not be seen as  means to an end.  It is the act of duty of a good will, irrespective of ends, that fuels a moral act.  He emphasizes that to see others as means only does not fit the deontological paradigm.  CS Lewis in The Problem of Pain takes up the ethics of ends in his description of Gods omnipotence.  Of God’s omnipotence Lewis states, “Perfect goodness can never debate about the end to be attained, and perfect wisdom cannot debate about the means most suited to achieve it”.  From a human and temporal perspective then, the maxim directing the freely chosen duty is the model for ethical action.  This implies that our ethical actions inside a human event are not predicated on what the situation presents or what outcome may ensue.  Furthermore our experience within a human event, understood within the context of God’s perfect goodness, can be seen as a participation of our faith with God’s sovereign wisdom.  Do we grow stronger or skeptical as we encounter these “events”?


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