Kant’s Autonomy in relation to Drug Use

Kant’s Autonomy in relation to Drug Use

Kant’s Autonomy in relation to Drug Use Assignment – Morality and ethics are like a reflection of what we believe where moral laws and tend to refine or improve what we believe in. In most societies, justifying the need to limit the use of drugs is always controversial as some people are of the view that they should be left to choose what is good for their bodies and what is not (Smith, 2002). Therefore, the legalization of drugs in some societies has been mandated on the grounds of helping people achieve their autonomy or exercise liberty.

However, there are always consequences associated with engaging in drug-taking activities where it is noted that drugs directly affect the self while indirectly impacting society (Altman, 2011). Therefore, the arguments for regulating the intake of drugs is centered around the consequences of taking drugs and the intentions to take drugs as well as the autonomy of the human being.  This brings the need to ask questions, is it right to regulate the use of drugs? Does an individual’s ability to choose limited through legislation, is this enslavement?

According to Kant, the individual or a person has a certain dignity that requires an individual’s respect. Kant notes that the reason showing why people are sacred stems from the idea that we are rational humans who can use logic (Altman, 2011). Kant also notes that human beings are autonomous beings meaning that one can act and choose freely. In this case, autonomy focuses on an individual’s ability to govern the self.

This school of through is therefore based on the ability to focus on the self as a way of determining what is moral and immoral instead of being influenced by the injunctions of other people (Kant’s Moral Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), 2016). This, therefore, entails self-governance where an individual looks the self and hence pursuing the course of action that benefits the self despite the moral beliefs and norms revolving around the choice.

Further to that, according to Kant, an individual’s autonomy is compromised when the individual cannot make a decision individually. This is when an external body or external factors influence them may fail to be autonomous since the true self does not exist at this moment (Altman, 2011). For example, a child may have the inability to be autonomous as well as the disabled people or an oppressed individual as they may be having the inability to become autonomous.

This, therefore, presents autonomy as the ability to be fully aware of having authority over individual actions. Kant, therefore, calls upon the need to let the individual free will be the major guiding principle towards decision making rather than letting the socially developed principles and or laws and hence determining what is moral (Kant’s Moral Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), 2016).

In this case, people should be guided by the maxims which they choose to abide by where such maxims can be regarded as universal by any being. Kant further notes that our emotions and subscriptions are external to the development of the will and therefore, they should not play a role in determining the ability to self-regulate (Altman, 2011).

Kant’s Autonomy
Kant’s Autonomy

In other words, Kant means that our feelings, habits, the emotions that we develop do not contribute towards the achievement of autonomy are they are seen as external. However, it is important to note that the idea of free will and making personal choices does not entail being governed by no laws, but is focuses on being governed by the laws that are developed by the self. In this case, the concept of autonomy works beyond being manipulated or manipulating other beings for the sake of our good (Smith, 2002). This, therefore, means that deception and lying are not okay since if I’m being deceived or manipulated, I cannot make an autonomous decision since the decision was based on false information.

Therefore, when it comes to the issue of drug use in relation to Kant’s arguments, it can be noted that if the decision to take drugs is personal and not influenced by other external factors, it can be considered as moral by the individual (Smith, 2002). The model by Kant promotes the idea that human beings have the right to do what they deem right to themselves provided that other factors do not influence it and it does not affect other people. in fact, people with freewill have the right to undertake what they need for their bodies including engagement in drug-taking provided that it is what makes them happy. Engaging in drug-taking can be likened to engaging in sports for one’s benefit (Altman, 2011).

However, engaging in drugs because you saw another individual looking good or because you heard that taking drugs gives you a good feeling may fail to be autonomous since your decision was influenced by the arguments of others (Smith, 2002). For the person taking drugs to benefits themselves or as per their own decision can be regarded as autonomous.

Therefore, the decision to both reject and or use drugs as long as it emanates from the self can be noted as autonomous — Kant’s theory given individual liberty to determine their maxim. Therefore, if you define your maxim, you get the ability to decide what is right or wrong. We also need to ask ourselves if we are doing something for our purposes, and if the answer to this is yes, then we are doing the wrong or rather an immoral thing (Altman, 2011). This is, therefore, majorly based on the issue of consent, where if an individual is aware of all the good and bad consequences of taking drugs, but they choose the standard or the maxim within which they wish to govern their lives.

Kant’s argument on autonomy focuses on people setting their standards and determining their fate, therefore, reducing an individual’s ability to choose what is right for them to hinders their autonomy. Despite the negative consequences of drug-taking, as long as I decide self-harm, then it’s okay. This, therefore, gives one the ability to discipline themselves and do whatever they want no matter the consequences. However, we should always take into consideration the maxim or the principle within which we act upon; this is by considering whether we would want to lie to be universally accepted (Smith, 2002).

The argument focuses majorly on the intentions of the individual rather than the consequences. In this case, if the intentions to take drugs was to satisfy the self-nourishment, then the decision can be determined as moral. The consequences, which include causing social disruptions or self-harm, in this case, are not taken into consideration. Kant notes that rationality and autonomy also entail the duty to make choices to harm oneself or choose death (Finnis, 1987).

Kant’s idea is much contested due to its focus on the concept of free will in some of the areas of an individual’s life.  Notably, when an individual’s actions are truly theirs, they should, therefore, not be forced by any external force, and in our lives, there are clear examples of various situations that are not autonomous (Smith, 2002). This is due to being governed by cultural laws and norms that influence the human to act in a given way, which, if let to make your own decision, you would choose to do it. Therefore, since the decision is influenced by an external factor such as a law, they fail to meet the conditions of being an autonomous decision.

That said, being compelled to make choices that do not resonate with our own beliefs and views would be enslavement. This would mean being forced to live as per another individual’s preferences, which would be unacceptable to people with different views about the use of drugs (Finnis, 1987).  Therefore, people with different drug preferences cannot agree on whether it is right or wrong to use drugs.

Kant’s Autonomy and Society

Therefore, according to Kant, any time we choose to do something, we are always influenced by our desire, and therefore there is a need to govern oneself without any external interference (Smith, 2002).  In this case, society cannot make decisions for an individual as people can define their standards. Governing the use of drugs would, therefore, be enslaving the people, and therefore Kant would not support the need to set government policies to regulate the use of drugs as it interferes with an individual’s autonomy (Finnis, 1987).

This is because any action that is conducted without being influenced externally had its moral worth, not because of its purpose but according to the maxim developed by the individual. Therefore, personal intentions or needs should not be weighed against the needs of the public since something good for me might be bad for the bigger population.

In conclusion, the argument concerning the need to regulate the use of drugs is a controversial one where people take different stands as per the philosophical argument they subscribe to. Looking into the consequences of drug use, it would only be good if the government uses its power to regulate the use of drugs to protect and keep safe the general population.

However, there is a need to consider the needs of the users and the ability for an individual to make personal decisions. Kant notes that there is a need to let the individual free will be the major guiding principle towards decision making rather than letting the socially developed principles and or laws and hence determining what is moral. In this case, an individual should not be forced to make decisions that do not resonate with our own beliefs.

References

Altman, M. C. (2011). Kant and applied ethics: The uses and limits of Kant’s practical philosophy. John Wiley & Sons.

Finnis, J. M. (1987). Legal enforcement of duties to oneself: Kant vs. neo-Kantians. Colum. L. Rev., 87, 433.

Kant’s Moral Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2016).

Smith, P. (2002). Drugs, morality and the law. Journal of Applied Philosophy19(3), 233-244.

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Autonomy and Democracy

Society, Privacy, Autonomy and Democracy: Individual or Social good?

Understanding the correlation between privacy, autonomy and democracy have become a major thought for focus among political theorists. Unlike the debate on privatization influencing the market economy, this is mainly centered upon conceptualizing the inner links between privacy and legality. The concern has come into the picture because of a variety of reasons. It may be technological developments or emergence of aggressive identity politics, one or the other way these have triggered unforeseen social issues. Through this essay, I shall try to detangle the intertwined nature of individual privacy, autonomy and democracy and bring out the relations existing in-between them.

Technology today has inevitably advanced to an extent, where employing all types sophisticated devices without regulation is likely to leave no trace of privacy. Inventions like powerful surveillance cameras and biotechnological techniques have unscreened the impenetrable areas of life. It has now become essential to be vigilant about the individual image in life.  But rapid upsurge of identity politics in the issues like feminism, multiculturism, gay movements, racial discretion and national politics has given birth to ambiguities or highlighted the limitations of privacy rights. Constant critics on drawing boundaries between the individual interests and democracy have generated suspicious thoughts of condemnation, segregation and dominance on one part or another. Most important of all, privacy has created a significant impact on the society. It has been a potent reason for the arrival of prevailing forms of racism, ethnocentrism and nationalism. At this point, older regulations to protect the privacy of people are not ideal. Moreover, people are volunteering themselves to relax their private space with an interest to gain goods and services. The interests to acquire a self-determined life and fantasized rewards are affecting the idea of democracy and the autonomous subjects working under it.

Radical critiques from the anti-democrats have also influenced the deprivation of conceptual resources in making a proper judgment. The necessity is to take account of all the possible sources available, reshape and refine it. The main resources in context are privacy rights and democratic rules. On the other facet, feminism has always questioned the loopholes in the democracy. It has played an important role in revealing and justifying the issues faced by women in the civil community based on lack of economic opportunities. However, it has also given rise to situations where democracy is forced to build discriminatory laws and experience legal disabilities. So there are obvious discrepancies and complexities in the modern day society. The issues related to privacy and publicity have mostly been discussed in terms of male interests and norms which thereby have led to prolonged opposition against following the social hierarchies.

Society

Whole societal structure can be seen in two halves, private and public. Firstly, public involves the egalitarian ideals of preserving peace and unity among the people. Secondly, privacy or personal space essential for individual well-being tends to create segregations in the society. Thirdly, autonomy resides somewhere in between the two spheres that influence both the ideas. Democracy certainly requires autonomy for its functioning. Besides solely working on the central command of power it distributes its autonomy among various levels. So democracy and autonomy are related to each other.

In fact, separation of privacy and autonomy is potentially not feasible as they are interrelated in a very dependable way. Similarly, using a public approach by considering the society as a whole by disregarding the various levels in the social structure is also not a viable option. So at the least, rules must exist to provide legal protection and acquire political balance in safeguarding the privacy and publicity. In other words, both the voices of many and individual voices must be protected in a democratic setup. The core intention of democracy should be to avoid leveling, prohibition and homogenization. Again, feminists are continually arguing about having personal priority over privacy. On this context, natural domain that comes into the picture relates intimate relationships, sexuality and family needs. With the attention to this matter, efforts have been made to refine the concept of privacy that oppresses women.

Traditionalism
Traditionalism

Autonomy greatly influences the policies and principles structured in the interests of society. A few autonomous agents are provided with the power to take actions and judgment. This in one sense is nothing, but overlapping the identity interests over the democracy. The providing autonomy to a group of people to regulate the democracy has both advantages and disadvantages. If deserving subjects who are clean in their conduct are placed as autonomous bodies, it would lead to prosperity. On the contrary, incapable candidates can pose questions over the justice of democracy. Likewise, it is also true that too much autonomy gets bad results. This happens when a person considers his choices as supreme and disregards the balance in privacy and publicity. The personal choices arise as a result of convictions, desires and values. As a result, it directly influences the goal set and actions of a person. There are also other instances where a person doesn’t have his own goals, but gets inspired or carried away by others actions. This is where self-direction comes as a part of illusion. In addition, ongoing social life is another factor that influences the person’s motives. Here an autonomous subject depends on the others judgment to carry out his actions. But in strict terms, autonomous person is one who has his/her choices and actions into play according to own will. Now the question is How to balance these actions following the rules democracy?

As an example, consider the operation of the Web. Democratic ideals must allow the web or internet to operate at maximum potential. Meanwhile, it also needs to protect the privacy of Internet users. Internet today is vastly familiarized, so these statements may seem as a matter of common sense. Nonetheless, for obtaining the objective, one has to perceive things relatively in a complex way. It requires the understanding of the real world situation and devising appropriate rules in a constrained environment. Looking at today’s trend of widespread use of social media, has left us ponder about making a distinction between public and private deeds. Something that was entirely concealed before is not anymore. The times have changed. Furthermore, it becomes more complex as there are distinct groups of people interacting with each other with diverse mindsets from all over the world. I after referring the Book called “The Public and problems” from the author John Dewey came to know an alternative way to perceive the distinction between privacy and publicity. The solution provided focuses on understanding the actions and consequences of the users. In other ways, after observing the adaptability of the users to the new technologies, rule of thumb is to keep aside the old situations and avoiding taking strict unforeseen decision that affects the people. The democratic principles must support the ever changing people to have their way of life. Additionally, imperatively taking decisions on the social privacy can outburst negative consequences and restrict the freedom of movement of the people.

The consequences of one’s actions can be direct and indirect, and as a democratic body it is very important to classify the actions of a user. When it comes to direct consequences, it remains bounded within a definite area and it can be dealt privately. Whereas indirect consequences on the other hand spread to a vast extent immediately after the action takes place. It should be clear by now that indirect consequences must be taken care of to preserve the public interests. Consider an example, where a house owner is burning garden waste in front of his house. In this case, immediate result would be affecting his children and family members. But if toxic pollutants are being burnt then, it becomes a question of the whole neighborhood. Here first part is a direct consequence and other is indirect consequence. The situation can be taken care by installing pollution measuring instruments and warning the owner, so that he hesitates to burn the toxics again. So private acts, triggering public consequences must be taken care by the legislation. In the pollution problem, the process would involve inquiries, warnings and charges against the home owner.

Conclusions

The indirect consequences are not always bad for the society. For instance, if a group of Facebook users come together and discuss their common problems with Facebook groups, it doesn’t pose any problems. It could rather solve the problem unless the issue is anti-democratic and against the government. So in this new generation the conventional philosophies may require refinements with the use of pragmatist approaches. It is very much necessary to safeguard the individual privacy along with curbing the activities that lead to mass tension. Overall, privacy, democracy and autonomy must be considered as parts that whole make up a whole system called society. Also to note, there are unavoidable influences between all the three subjects, and considering them as individual entities can create social enigmas that could remain unsolved. Finally, privacy is not to be neglected but instead must be considered as essential element to democracy and autonomy.

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