Kant Ethics

Theses card will include the basics of Kant Ethical Theory

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Quincy
  • Created on: 07-01-11 20:55


Kant theory is Deontological as Kant is absolute, it is set in stone and will not change.

Kant's moral principles are priori (independent of experiences).

1 of 6

Imperative and Goodwill

Kant says will must Act out of Duty.

For example: a shopkeeper makes a point not to cheat his customers to retain business however another shopkeeper makes a point not to cheat his customers because that is his moral duty.

A moral action is a morally free agent as determined actions are not morally commendable.

There are two types of moral command that form the basis of human moral conduct.

Hypothetical Imperative - "is" it is a command with reason. command depends on the person's choice to follow rather then duty.

Categorical Imperative - "ought" it is a command not base on reason but are ends in themselves.

2 of 6

Kants Formulae

There are three parts:

1. Universality

Demands humans to act as if their actions were to become a universal law. 

2. Formula of Kingdom of Ends

Must treat people as rational human beings

3. Formula of Kingdom of Ends in itself

Must not use people for own gain

3 of 6

Vardy and Grosch

They observed that the principle were the similar to moral teaching of Jesus "Agape" love, put others before self.

Jesus taught that God comes before the love for people.

Kant's does not limit out the possibility of moral obligations to the divine commands but that should not be the reason for one duty or it will become an Hypothetical Imperative. 

4 of 6

Strenghts of Theory

The motivation of an action is worthy credited and valued according even if the consequences go wrong. Individual must be responsible for their motivation and not hide behind the consequences if they can take credit or not.

By using reason to determine our moral actions, we are less likely to be swayed by conflicting or deceiving circumstances. If we become govern by the principle of Universal law and end in itself then people will be respected, individual valued and whole population ensured their civil rights.

Kant establish an absolute- no matter the changes of social fashions or pressures.

5 of 6

Weakness of Theory

It makes moral obligation appear arbitrary but there are many factors which can rightly influnce our decision making.

What do you do with two absolute conflict; Always tell the truth and Always keep your promises. A Nazis soldier comes in and ask you to tell him where the Jewish family is concealed. Do you tell the truth or keep your promise?

Reason can not be guaranteed to lead people to the same conclusion. Also Kant assumes everybody is able to use reason to make moral decision.

How far can a good motive or goodwill justify an action? Goodwill can cause chaos and motivation itself cannot undo the damage.

W.D.Ross - Question the Prima-facie duties, as some people have a duties that must override their duties to others.

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Ethics resources »