Kantian Ethics


Kantian Ethics

  • Deontological- concerned with the inherent worth of the action
  • Imperatives: Hypothetical- a command that you obey because of what it will achieve e.g. John must revise in order to pass French
  • Categorical- a command that is to be obeyed because it is good in itself e.g. Revise!
  • The Universability Test:
  • 1. Find the agent's maxim (a principle from which rules are made) 
  • 2. Imagine a possible world in which everyone in a similar position to the real-world agent followed that maxim
  • 3. Decide whether any contradictions, or irrationalities, arise in the possible world as a result of following the maxim
  • 4. If a contradiction or irrationality arises, acting on that maxim is not allowed in the real world
  • 5. If there is no contradiction, then acting on that maxim is permissible, and in some instances required
  • The Categorical Imperative has 3 parts:
  • The Universal Law: All moral statements should be general laws, which apply to everyone any circumstances
  • Treat humans as ends in themselves: Kant argues that you shouldn't treat people as means to an end 
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