kants theory of ethics unti 1


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What is Kant's theory of ethics?
Objective right and wrong based on reason
Do the right thing because it is right, not just because you want something out of it
Our maxims should be universalised
No such thing as moral absolutes
Theory was deontological
Rights and principles guide us to know which goods to follow
To act moral you have to be capable of exercising freedom
Our reason must not be subservient to something else even if this is the happiness of the
Good will
Making a moral choice expresses good will
Is what makes the good will good
Motives need to be pure
Kant does not rule out pleasure in doing duty, but pleasure will not help us to know what duty
is or the morality of our actions
The hypothetical imperative
Not moral commands to the will as they do not apply to everyone
You only need to follow them if you want to achieve a certain goal
Always begins with the word if...
The categorical imperative
Moral commands which apply to everyone
They don't depend on anything especially desires and goals
Based on an objective a priori law of reason
This is a test to judge whether an action is in accordance with pure practical reason
There are a number of different forms of this, but they are variations on three basic ones:
1. Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it
should become a universal law
Formula of the law of nature
This asks everyone to universalise their principles or maxims without contradiction
He wants everyone to universalise their rules to allow them to be free and rational
2. Act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other,
never solely as a means but always as an end
Formula of end in itself
We should not exploit others or treat them as things to achieve an end
Need to value everyone equally
3. Acts as if a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends
Formula of a kingdom of ends
Everyone should act as if every other person was an end
Pure practical reason must be impartial and so its principles must be impartial and so its
principles must apply equally to everyone
Strengths of Kant's theory of ethics
Straight forward and based on reason
Clear criteria
Moral value of an action comes from the action itself
Kant categorical imperative a[applies to everyone meaning no exceptions
Makes clear that morality is about doing our duty's

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Aims to treat everyone fairly
Kant sees humans as being of intrinsic worth and dignity
Weaknesses of Kant's theory of ethics
Not easy to apply to moral situations
Many people would consider thinking about the consequences of the action more moral
Kant's system only seems to work if everyone has the same view
It doesn't change in different situations…read more


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