Kantian ethics

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  • Kantian Ethics
    • Deontological theory: looks at the actions rather than the consequences
      • Looks at a moral action as our 'duty'
    • Categorical imperative
      • Applies to everyone, regardless of beliefs or desires
      • An end in itself
    • Hypothetical imperative
      • Not moral, but practical
      • If you want something, you must work to achieve it
        • If you want money, get a job
    • Universal law/maxim
      • we all must follow these laws to achieve morality
      • We must always act upon the maxim unless...
        • It is logically impossible
        • The maxim is wrong
          • I can borrow money and lie about paying it back
    • Humanitarian formulation
      • Second formulation of the categorical imperative
      • Never treat others as a means to an end, treat them as an end in themselves
    • Kingdom of ends
      • If everyone followed the maxim of the categorical imperative, then we would reach a kingdom of ends
    • Strengths
      • allows us to pursue our own ends as there is no 'end' to maximise (as long as you do not use anyone as a means)
      • central importance focused on worth and dignity of human autonomy
    • Good will is the source of moral worth: you're a good person if you perform something for the correct reason (categorical imperative)
    • Issues
      • Clashing duties
        • you cannot lie, but it is wrong to not care about others
      • ignores the consequences of an action
      • not everyone is driven by duty


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