- Absolutist and rule based.
- Certain actions are wrong in themselves regardless of the consequences.
- We should follow rules to prevent us performing bad actions- Deontological constraints.
- Moral laws apply universally in all situations and are binding on moral agents.
- Hypothetical imperative- what we ought to do to fulfill our wishes. How to acheieve an end.
- Categorical imperative: An end in itself. What we ought to do regardless of our wishes.
- Categorical imperatives are an expression of absolute and unconditional duty.
- These can be established a priori through human reason.
- Three ways:1) principle of universalizability. 2) the formula of the end in itself. 3) the formula for kingdom of ends.
- The categorical test provides a set of deontological moral rules that cannot be broken.
- The right action must have the correct motivation - a sense of duty.
- Acting in this way is "The greatest perfection of a human being"
1) Universally binding- captures the absolute nature of morality many believe it to have. If a moral command is not universally applicable it can be disregarded/changed/manipulated. The command is then secondary to the reason for breaking the command but what is good/right ought to be of highest significance/impotance.
2) The categorical imperative sits well with the idea that morality involves treating all individuals as equally valuable.
Against- relationship between morality and universalizability
- Examples- some maxims that can be universalised that are not duties- "don't hold your fork in your left hand"/ "don't walk on the cracks in the pavement".
- Both are consistent with the criterion but neither are moral duties.
- How do we deicded which universalized maxims are moral duties and which aren't/what basis?
Support- motives vs consequences
- Consequences are beyond our control- irrelevant. Cannot know them.
- Only directly responsible for our own actions.
- Suggestion motivation is significant appears correct.
- Example: Praise someone who acted out of duty to do the right thing even if it led to a decrease in happiness.
- Focusing on the action and the motivation when making a moral judgement appears to be the most reliable way of making an informed judgement.
Against- Conflicts of duty and importance of consequences
- The categorical nature of deontology leads to a conflict of duty. Kant insisted there…