Assumption of Rationality

Assumption of rationality. Kant’s theory is quite optimistic: his view of humans as rational beings who act according to self-imposed duties seems more of an ideal than a reality with regard to fast-paced contemporary lifestyles. Even if some can muster the rational autonomy and free will to attend to the categorical imperative, what about others who are not in a position to make such decisions? Are children, whose reasoning faculties are still developing, or those who may struggle for whatever reason to maintain a rational thought process, incapable of being ethical? Given the complexity of life, not least business, can any of us expect to work calmly through the categorical imperative before every decision?

All in all, is it reasonable for each individual to take responsibility for their own ethical practice, or are there some systems and structures which pre-determine some element of ethics for us? This is where we turn to the ethics of rights and justice, and social contract theory.

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