Explain Kant's theory of duty (30 marks)

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  • Explain Kant's theory of duty (30 marks)
    • 2. The Categorical Imperative.
      • As rational human beings we have certain duties which are categorical (absolute and unconditional)
        • Morality is a system of categorical imperatives - commands to act in certain ways
          • Contrasted categorical duties with hypothetical ones.
            • What you ought or ought not do to achieve or avoid a certain goal.
      • Three Rules of Cat. Imp..
        • 1) Universalisability
          • For an action to be moral the underlying maxim had to be universalisable.
            • Has to be a maxim that can hold for any person at any time under similar circumstances.
        • 2) Formula of End in Itself
          • The underlying maxim must not use humans as a means to an end but must respect all people as rational agents and ends in themselves.
            • Humans must be treated with respect because they are rational agents.
        • 3) Formula of Kingdom of Ends.
          • Rational humans must act as if everyone is following the same version of ethics
            • Must act as if you, and everyone else, were treating each other as ends in themselves.
      • Three Posulates of Practical Reason.
        • God
        • Freedom
        • Immortality
          • Virtue and happiness do not coincide in this life, but there must be a point at which they do - must be an afterlife.
            • Therefore God must exist in order to help people reach this place.
              • You will reach this place by following the CI and using autonomy.
                • Freedom
              • God
              • The SUMMUM BONUM
                • Virtue and happiness do not coincide in this life, but there must be a point at which they do - must be an afterlife.
                  • Therefore God must exist in order to help people reach this place.
                    • You will reach this place by following the CI and using autonomy.
                      • The SUMMUM BONUM
        • 1. Introduction
          • Deontological Theory
            • Concerned with actions not consequences.
              • The only acceptable motive for an action is performing out of a sense of duty.
                • Kant argued that we should focus on the motives for actions rather than on consequences because everyone can be moral.
                  • We can only be held morally responsible for something which we have control
                    • "OUGHT IMPLIES CAN"
              • An action is either right or wrong regardless of the consequences.
            • Contrasted with a teleological approach
              • Concerned with consequences not actions.
          • The Good Will
            • No outcome was inherently good.
              • Kant used the term 'good' to describe the 'good will'
                • The resolve to act purely in accordance with ones duty, using reason to work out what one's duty is.
            • Duty is what makes the 'good will' good. It is the motive for acting in a certain way which shows moral quality - rational human beings experience a 'pull' of duty through their reason.
          • Autonomy
            • We should act autonomously using our reason, disregarding outer influences, feelings or inclination.
          • A Priori Synthetic
            • Find out how to act morally (and therefore our duty) prior to experience.
              • Applying reason to situations - may end in the sum mum bonus.
        • 3. Applying Kant's Ethical Theory.
          • ABORTION
            • The maxim 'You should have an abortion' becomes a self-contradictory universal maxim 'Everyone should have an abortion'
              • It couldn't work because the human race would eventually die out, and so there would be no one to have abortions.
            • Finding a different universal maxim that is not self-contractory
              • 'People who have been raped should have abortions'
                • Still a contradiction of the will
                  • Rational agents have been born through rape - you can't will a law that would prevent your own existence.
                  • The foetus will eventually become a rational being and so you should not use it as a means to an end.
        • 4. Working towards the Kingdom of Ends
          • People have intrinsic value as they are rational and can make their own moral decisions.

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