Kantian Ethics

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Deontological, Absolute, Objective. This mean Kant only ever looks at the ACTION of an act NOT
its consequence. Kant's Ethics are A PRIORI because he believed we should understand all of this
through OUR REASON.
Deontological ethical theories are concerned with what our duty is; Kant believed it was our duty
to follow moral law.
He said actions are intrinsically right or wrong, and we should use our reason to decide how to act
in a situation.
We should act in a certain way because it is morally right to do so, not because it fulfils our
The Summum Bonum
This is the ultimate end for Kant; the supreme good humans must seek out to achieve. It is
impossible for humans to reach the Summum Bonum within our lifetime and so there must be an
afterlife in which we are able to achieve it.
Good Will and Duty
Kant argues that the highest form of good is good will; this good will is to do one's duty and one's
duty is to carry out actions that are morally necessary. We do our duty for the sake of doing the
duty itself and not any possible consequences that might come out of it. We should always follow
our duty, even if it causes pain.
Basically only a person's mind and their motives for acting can be called good. Everything else is
morally neutral. And so, a good act is one driven by good will.
For Kant duty involves freely choosing the action "The autonomy of the will is the sole principle of
all moral laws" Our desires and goals make actions selfish.
Laws are expressed as commands or imperatives and for Kant, there are two kinds of imperative:
Categorical and Hypothetical
The Hypothetical Imperative= opposite of Kant's Categorical Imperative.
The Hypothetical Imperative is when we do X for the sake of Y. This means we are using X as a
means to an end. For example -being someone's friend to obtain popularity - you are using this
friend for your own benefit. KANT DID NOT LIKE THIS.
Kant created his own CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE:
Categorical Imperative
This is the supreme principle of morality according to Kant. The CI determines what our duties

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The categorical imperative is when we do X for the sake of X - this links back to Kant's belief in we
OUGHT to do an action and so we SHOULD do that action. For example, being someone's friend
because they are a nice person. This is known as treating people as an end in themselves.
There are 3 formulations to the categorical imperative ­
1.…read more


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