Kantian Ethics

  • Created by: isabravo
  • Created on: 04-03-21 16:51

Kantian Ethics 

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

- Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Moralshow people should make decisions (to be unconditionally and universally obeyed, must be unconditionally and universally good)

- main objection lies in his Enlightenment view in the importance of human autonomy or freedom. 

- for Kant, if we are only motivated by our desires, then we can never truly be free. 

- true freedom lies in controlling our desires - "pure,pratical reason" using reason alone in decision-making

-reason gaurantees freedonm which gaurantees morality which can only be gauarnteed if we act according to reason

-Kant developed an absolutist and deontological ethical theory working on a priori rules. 

The Good Will

- starting point for the whole of Kants ethical theory. 

- only thing that can be good, in and of itself. - good without exception 

- intirinc good - cannot be used for bad purposes " it is good through its willing alone"

- He therefore rejects any other motives - happiness,courage, sympathy - on the grounds that they can be sometimes morally worse


-acting morally according to the good regardless of consequences

-all humans have moral duty, which is worked out through reason

-Something is good only when someone carries out their duty to do it

-distinguishing Inclination/Duty - sometimes they might be the same however, only the action which springs from duty can be classified as a moral act. eg helping your dad becuase ur nice vs its your duty.  "in conformity with duty" vs "from duty"

The hypothetical Impertitave

-a command to achive a desired result

- always conditional on your own individual self-interests (not imperative of morality)

-adivises us how to satisify our desires..

"You ought to do something if... you want to be ...." ect

The catergorical imperititave 

deontological guideline which tells whterher a possible actions might be good/not / a command to act that is good in itself regardless of consequences

-abseloute, universal "supreme principle of morality" 

-commands us how to act irrespective of our interests/desires 

-for Kant, whether


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