Kantian Ethics

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Kantian Ethics

This is just a few notes on Kantian Ethics covering everything you have to know to apply his theory to acts in applied ethics.

Kant - Deontelogical, Absolute, Objective. This mean Kant only ever looks at the ACTION of an act NOT its consequence. 

Kant believed everyone has their own personal DUTY - DUTY FOR DUTYS SAKE - he believed if we have a DUTY we must do it because we ought to do it. 

He also believed that DUTY when paired with our GOOD WILL will create a MORAL ACTION. GOOD WILL + DUTY = A MORAL ACTION. If an act is going against our DUTY and GOOD WILL it should not be committed as it would become an IMMORAL ACTION.

If we OUGHT to do an action and we CAN do an action then we SHOULD do an action. 

Kant's Ethics are A PRIORI because he believed we should understand all of this through OUR REASON. He also believed humans were superior beings because we the autonomy to rule ourselves by REASON to understand what it MORAL and what is IMMORAL.

THE HYPOTHETICAL IMPERATIVE is the opposite to Kants CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE. THE HYPOTHETICAL IMPERATIVE is when we do X for the sake of Y. This means we are using X as a means to an end. For example -being someone's friend to obtain popularity - you are using this friend for your own benefit. KANT DID NOT LIKE THIS. 

Kant created his own CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE which is when we do X for the sake of X - this links back to Kant's belief in we OUGHT to do an action and so we SHOULD do that action. For example, being someone's friend because they are a nice person. This is known as treating people as an end in themselves.


1) The Universal Law - The universalisation of MAXIMS.

The first formulation is can it be universalised? For instance, if a man is currently cheating on his wife and he is a kantian follower - he would ask - would i like it if my wife was currently cheating on me? if he answers no, then this rule should not be universalised and if therefore immoral.


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