Kantian Deontology

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  • Kantian Deontology
    • Immanuel Kant
      • was an enlightenment thinker
        • refers to a general intellectual and cultural time in Europe from the middle of the 17th century to the 19th century.
          • huge advances in science, engineering and agriculture
          • "sapere aude" - dare to think
            • use your own reason and think for yourself
          • enlightenment ideas = reason, tolerance and education
      • thought there were objective moral laws
        • humans knew this moral law through reason
        • moral rules exist and are binding
        • importance of duty
          • to act morally is to do one's duty
            • humans should not act out of love, compassion or inclination
      • moral statements are "a priori synthetic" - can be knowable through reasoning and may/ may not be true
        • synthetic = requires empirical tests
          • a priori - knowledge without reference
      • summum bonum
        • noumenal
        • phenomenal
        • God is a necessary postulate of practical reaason
    • the categorical imperative
      • Kant doesn't say what actions are morally right or wrong
        • he prescribes how an action can be judged to be morally binding by the means of a categorical imperative"
          • it is a logical way of determining what is right and wrong -   shows us what we ought to do
      • an absolute moral obligation/ duty
        • not motivated by need or desire
          • do it for the sake of it
            • deontological - duty for duty
        • unconditional command
      • 3 parts
        • Treat humans as ends in themselves
          • The Practical Imperative
            • people should be treated with respect and not used as a means to an end
              • should not treat people differently according to race, class or wealth
        • Act as if you live in a kingdom of ends
          • act as through everyone is acting in the same way as you
        • Universalizability (the universal law
          • you need to consider whether a statement can become "universal"
            • if it comes universal, it can become contradictory and worth nothing
              • Contradiction of the will
                • a contradiction what I want
                  • "Everyone should be an egoist"
                    • you are an egoist and so you want everyone to focus on you, but universalising the statement would make everyone focus on themselves, thus making you contradict yourself
              • Contradiction of nature
                • a contradiction of the meaning of the word
                  • "You can break a promise if entirely necessary"
                    • "promise" loses its meaning if universalised
                      • logical contradiction
    • the hypothetical imperative
      • acts as a suggestion rather than an absolute
        • desires/ inclinations
        • a conditional command
      • consequential - the end justifies the means
    • Kant's contradiction
      • Kant wants people want people to act morally because it is their duty - CATEGORICAL
        • however, if you act morally, you'll be rewarded in the afterlife because of postulating God - HYPOTHETICAL
          • you should act out of duty's sake but with an added bonus of being rewarded
            • happiness is a consequence but the theory is deonological
              • Kant wants people want people to act morally because it is their duty - CATEGORICAL
                • however, if you act morally, you'll be rewarded in the afterlife because of postulating God - HYPOTHETICAL
                  • you should act out of duty's sake but with an added bonus of being rewarded
                    • happiness is a consequence but the theory is deonological
      • the highest form of good is good will
        • good will = to do your duty = to perform actions that are morally required and avoid morally forbidden actions
          • the most moral action is to go against your inclination
      • WD Ross
        • modern deontologist

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