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  • Created by: Thebirds
  • Created on: 10-05-14 15:54

Kant's ethical theory is deontological - This meaning it is absolute, universalistic and apllies to all in every situation.
Kant's ethical theory also does not consider love or compassion when making a moral decision, as Kant believes we should act out of duty not emotion. - Contrast view to utlitarianism 

Kant believes there are two types of statement 

  • apriori analytic - statement true in itself e.g. 1+1=2
  • a posteriori snythetic - the statment can be tested and can be true or false. 

Moral statements are a priori synthetic this means that they are knowable without reference to experience, they require empirical tests.

Kant believed that we have an innate moral duty which is revealed through reason "the moral law within". To act morally is to do ones duty and we should do it for no other reason than it is our duty and to do what is right.

The highest form of good is good will, to have a good will is to do one's duty and to do one's duty is to perform actions that are morally required and to avoid those that are forbidden. To perform a moral action out of a desire for the good consequence it brings is to act out of self interet and is not a morally good action. "Good will shines forth like a precious jewel". Happiness is good and comes as a result for acting through good will, but duty is the highest good. E.g. walking an old person across the road. if a person did it to make them feel good as they have done a caring act would not be a moral act. This is because if you are doing an act out of self interest and compassion this is not moral. Actions should be based on reason. 

Kant believed that we all have moral ought within us like a compass to direct us to what would be the right moral decision which will direct us to good will. "The highest form of good is good will". Kant saw the moral ought as being our duty, as he said "duty for duty's sake" so for us to know what our moral duty, Kant believed we should follow the categorical imperative to guide everyone to the correct moral decision. 

Humans seek an


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