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Kant on one side of A4
The Enlightenment Dare to know!
Newton Universal laws
Plato Two realms of reality
Rousseau The fundamental dignity of humans
Kant is a deontologist Morality is based on DUTY. Kant focuses on motivation and
intention. What matters is that a person does their duty out of a sense of GOOD WILL.
Kant says that we are half animal half angel because we are influence by both reason and
instinct but because we have REASON, and so are able to choose, we should be
AUTONOMOUS (self governing) in choosing our morality. (However, Kant believed that
because reason is common to us all, we should reach the same conclusions about right and
So how do we know what to do? Kant distinguishes between Hypothetical (Do this if you
want this to happen) and Categorical (Do this!) Imperatives.
Any right action must conform to three formulations of the Categorical Imperative.
1. Act in such a way as you would be willing to make your action into a universal law.
E.g. Don't lie because you can't desire that everyone lie.
2. Act in a way that treats people always as an end in themselves and never only as a
means to an end. E.g Don't torture an innocent person to get information you need.
3. Act as if you were a universal lawmaker in a kingdom of ends.
Gives people autonomy they have the Too rigid. Sometimes consequences can
conditions for right/wrong but they must then change the rightness/wrongness of an action.
work it out.
Promotes equality you can't make Ignores the importance of human emotions.
decisions to just benefit yourself. You must Hume said that morality should be
think of everyone. determined by our passions. What is the role
of sympathy in morality?
Emphasises the value of human life. Avoids What about when duties conflict? If I need
the utilitarian problem of treating people as a
to lie to save a life. Kant cannot offer a way
means to general happiness. to decide. Utilitarianism can.
Recognises the importance of motivation and The first formulation of the Cat'Imp' could
not just consequenses. make almost anything a moral duty. E.g. I
may break promises in a leap year when I'm
wearing a green Tshirt and my cat has a
Avoids problem of calculating The second formulation only includes
consequences. You can know you're doing humans but what about the pain of
a right action before you do it. nonrational beings. Utilitarianism can