Kantian Ethics

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Kantian Ethics

  • Act as if you live in a Kingdom of ends: Kant assumed that all rational agents were able to deduce whether an argument was moral or not through reason alone and so, all rational humans should be able to conclude the same moral laws
  • Two types of contradiction:
  • Contradiction in the Conception (law of nature) the maxim contradicts itself or an existing Law of nature
  • Contradiction in Volition: the maxim can logically be applied, but as a rational human being, it makes no sense to!
  • Kant believes that as Human beings we possess innate reason: Reason alone therefore will lead us to solutions to moral dilemmas
  • A priori statements are those that come from reason and not our sense experience
  • Moral statements are a priori: they are fact and need no verification (or they would be hypothetical imperatives) 
  • By emphasising reason alone as the key to moral behaviour emphasises Autonomy- self-law, and no obligation to any outside authority
  • Kant believes that looking to consequences of actions, the person making the decision is in danger of giving in to emotions or 'inclinations' and this is never an acceptable position to take
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