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This theory is named after a German philosopher in the 18th century known as Immanuel Kant. There are many different theories he gave depending on the field. As one reads about him, they find that he wrote down what he felt about things and that is what the Kantian Theory is all about. For example, there is the Kant’s moral theory, Kant’s ethical theory, Kant’s theory of judgment, Kant’s theory of freedom, Kant’s theory of religion and religious value, etc
Kant’s moral theory
In this theory, Kant felt that moral expectations are judged from what he called “Categorical Imperative”. Moral decadence therefore, is going against categorical imperative and thus unreasonable. This theory does not look at the repercussions; it more looks at the intention. For example, if your friend wanted to surprise you by buying you a gift but did not buy for you a gift you liked, you are not supposed to be mad at him or blame him. He/she was just trying to genuinely do something nice for you; it’s just that it was not your taste. If worse still, he messes up things or damages things unintentionally when trying to get you that gift, you should still not get angry at them because their original idea was not malicious.
Kant ethical theory
This theory has a resemblance with his theory of morality. He did not believe that man could do something according to programmed laws. He however thought that we must do things in reference to some law or our doings will be without purpose or meaningless. Kant did not believe that any result was naturally awesome. He believed that in making use of the brain and reason, one could figure out what they were expected to do.
If our doings are programmed and we just stay around aimlessly, then we cannot be called independent (free) and our morality is not with us. One cannot get out of the reality (how the world is currently) to an imagination (how one thinks the world should be). One has to take into consideration how things have been or turned to be according to past events. The categorical imperative that was stated earlier brings such understanding as do as if the climax of your doing was going to be the global law of nature.
Theory of judgment
Kant theory of judgment was so different from all the others. In this theory, he describes judgment as a symbol of a symbol of it. That all judgments are results of symbol of a symbol for instead of a symbol, a higher symbol is used. In today’s business world, this theory cannot be entirely used.
Kant theory in business tactics
To begin with, in today’s world morals are hardly used when it comes to doing business. Business men and women are more focused in making huge amounts of profits and making as much money as possible without worrying who gets hurt, who looses (as long as it is not them), who needs help, etc. as it has been mentioned earlier, most of the businesses in today’s world have clear goals and missions: to make as much profit as possible and gain as much power, prestige authority as possible.
Let’s take an example of a drug trafficker. Who can convince me that the businessman/lady does that business because of any other good intentions apart from making money, getting power and prestige? What could probably come out of drug trafficking? According to the theory of morals, we have seen that one has to accomplish an objective just for the sake of doing it without any attachments or benefits of whatever kind.
Businessmen do business to get profits. When one goes ahead and does the business at the expense of another person’s life, it is not morality. Hospitals are places that were and are still being put up to help people get medical attention. Most hospitals are either put up by governments, individuals thus run privately or charitable organizations (Wood 101).
Most individuals put up hospitals and other health facilities as a form of earning income. Many doctors stand up in front of T.V cameras and microphones and talk about how they opened the health facilities in order to help the citizens. This is all a waste of our precious air time. Make a point of going to some of these health facilities for treatment without the required amount of money which is sometimes ridiculously expensive, and see whether you will get someone who will even look at you twice. I have read and seen human beings die on benches as they queued up to receive medical attention by nurses who were busily chatting and taking the ‘ten o’clock tea’.
In my opinion, business tactics and morality can not go hand in hand, not according to how Kant as described his theory of morality.
How can advertising be done in respect to Kant’s theory of morals? Advertising is the processes of making the public know about your goods and services by using different ways and means. Some use the media (television, radio, print materials, etc); others use word of mouth i.e. by telling friends, moving from door to door, and so on. In advertising, one can’t help but realize that there has to be a lot of creativity in order to get the customers attention and better still, make the customer want to purchase your goods or services. In simple terms, one has to be better than the rest.
Due to this tough competition and demands, businessmen are forced to trick, tell lies or what others use a better word and say ‘hide the truth’ from their customers in order to convince them to make a purchase. Is this having good morals? As one may find out, customers may be lied to about the quality of a certain product so that the businessperson can make the sale. For example, one purchasing a phone can be given a fake brand name in the pretense that it is an original so that the seller can sell it at a cheaper price which most customers are attracted to (Ameriks 81).
If most substances and commodities were really weighed in the public, using genuine weighing machines, one will find out that most of these products do not weigh what is inscribed on the packets or wrappings. What one calls two kilos might be one and three quarters or one and three eighths. Why would a doctor turn away an ailing patient simply because he/she did not have money? Why should I sleep hungry if I came to your store and asked to be given some maize flour on credit, why should a businessperson sell for me a coated gold ring in the pretense that it was real gold?
When trying to answer all these questions and many more, one will realize that Kant’s theory of morals and business tactics hardly go hand in hand. Why should this two not go hand in hand? There are a couple of answers that can be given to this question.
Good morals are expensive. If one was to completely be honest in his business, he would have to sacrifice something in one way or another. They would have to sacrifice a lot profit and wealth making and save their morals, or sacrifice their morals and make some good amount of money. If one gets to do their own research, most of the people who are involved in illegal businesses make a lot of money e.g. drug traffickers, human traffickers, sellers of untaxed products like cigarettes, alcohol, cars, just to mention but a few.
Failing to hand in your income revenue turnover to the concerned authorities is not morally upright. In the communication industry, a lot of people desire to have phones that have a lot of features but at a cheap price. This has encouraged some companies to make phones that meet the public’s wants but have compromised on the quality. Most of the people get exited about the quantity of a commodity more than the quality.
People like to hear what they want to hear and not what the reality is. If one tells a customer to buy something of good quality but more expensive than the same commodity being sold at a cheaper price but poor quality, the customer will probably go for the cheaper one.
Another reason is the presence of second hand commodities. These goods are normally sold at a cheaper price. For this reason, they have attracted a lot of customers, leaving the ones selling new ones threatened. Customers are buying second hand cars at a very high rate and this may tempt the businessmen selling the new cars to either lower their prices to attract customers or use the tricks they normally use.
What is this? This is the thought or idea that the moral value of a doing is only determined by its ability to bring joy or satisfaction upon someone. In that case the moral value of a doing is determined by the results. The people who mostly involved themselves in the innovation of such a theory were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.
Kant never agreed with this theory and that is one of the reasons he came up with his own. We cannot entirely base or judge ones morality entirely on the results he got? That would be quite unfair? If your daughter tried cleaning up the house so that when you came home from work you would find a clean environment to relax in, then in the process of cleaning, a glass slips from her hands, falls down and breaks as she tries to clean the utensils, what would be your reaction? Would you come ,find out what happened, then really be angry that she had given herself work that she was not supposed to do and made a mess out of everything, or would come, be really happy and grateful that she had bothered to take such a responsibility but unfortunate that there was a small accident?
Most people would probably do the former. This is because it is almost natural for human beings to note a wrong thing or a mistake more than something good. Most people will forever remember a time you hurt them whether physically or emotionally rather than remember a time you did them a favor (Allison 67).
In any case, it is only moral that you take into consideration the intention of the person rather than the result. Your daughter in good faith wanted to please you but ended up having a small accident. That should not make you angry, but happy. You should even be grateful she never hurt herself.
On the other hand, one may have a malicious thought of doing you something bad, either to harm you or inflict pain on you. For example, a colleague reports you to your boss with the intention of making you loose your job but you ended up getting a salary rise or a promotion. How would you interpret that?
According to Act utilitarianism, this is appointed as the picking up of specific doings to under specific circumstances. In this case, one can do it practically in order to understand more and see how it works.
One can take a group of rules from those simple ones like the Ten Commandments to those complex ones like a country’s rules and laws. Make an attempt of choosing which set or group of rules to use. For example if one takes the Ten Commandments. They should follow them to the last letter. That should be their reference point every time they want to make a decision. Remember that this group or set of rules should be put in a way that following those rules will improve ones life forever. Every time one wants to make a decision, they should, “is this allowed in the set of rules I have?” If yes, then it is morally good, if it is no, then do away with it because it is morally not good.
In any case, let us be morally upright. Kant has tried to simplify it for us to some level so we should try our best and follow it even when using our business tactics.