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Immanuel Kant. 1724-1804. David Hume 1711-1776. Hume argued that morality was hypothetical and contingent. If we were different (different needs and desires) our moral code would be different. Deontology. Deon means duty in Greek. Deontology vs. consequentialism

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Immanuel kant

Immanuel Kant


David hume 1711 1776
David Hume 1711-1776

  • Hume argued that morality was hypothetical and contingent.

  • If we were different (different needs and desires) our moral code would be different.


  • Deon means duty in Greek.

  • Deontology vs. consequentialism

  • Acts have intrinsic moral value

Moral law is necessary
Moral Law is Necessary

  • “Everyone must admit that if a law is to have moral force, i.e., to be the basis of an obligation, it must carry with it absolute necessity.”

The moral foundations
The Moral Foundations

  • “…the basis of obligation must not be sought in the nature of man, or in the circumstances in the world in which he is placed, but a priori simply in the concept of pure reason;”

Immanuel kant

  • A prior claim

  • A posteriori claim

  • Analytic claim

  • Synthetic claim

Good will
Good Will

  • Talents of the Mind: Intelligence, wit, judgment, etc.

  • Qualities of Temperance: resolution, courage, perseverance, etc.

  • Gifts of Nature

  • Gifts of Fortune

Will character

  • Without a good will no other character trait is good.

  • The only unconditionally good is the will.

  • “thus a good will appears to constitute the indispensible condition even of being worthy of happiness.”

Kant s critique of aristotle
Kant’s Critique of Aristotle

  • Moderation is not good in itself.

  • Without a good will all virtues could be very evil.

Will vs consequences
Will vs. Consequences

  • It is not what you do that matters; it is what you intend and attempt to do that matters and has moral worth.

  • Whether or not you succeed does not matter.

Reason is the guide of will
Reason is the Guide of Will

  • What is the purpose of human beings?

  • Welfare, conservatism, happiness?

  • If this be the purpose of human beings, then nature should not have developed reason. Inclination (instincts) are a much better guide for this purpose.

Reason and happiness
Reason and Happiness

  • “And, in fact, we find that the more a cultivated reason applies itself with deliberate purpose to the enjoyment of life and happiness, so much the more does the man fail of true satisfaction.”

  • The end of human beings cannot be happiness.

Purpose of human beings
Purpose of Human Beings

  • The supreme good of human beings is the GOOD WILL.

  • Reason is necessary for attaining the FIRST and UNCONDITIONAL purpose of human beings: the good will.

Good will vs happiness
Good Will vs. Happiness

  • Reason and having a good will might be inconsistent with happiness and the human inclinations that guide us toward this happiness.

First proposition of morality
First Proposition of Morality

  • Actions must be done from a sense of Duty.

  • The motive of an action must be one’s duty to do the right thing for the action to have moral worth.

Second proposition of morality
Second Proposition of Morality

  • Action done from duty derives its moral worth not from the intended consequences but from the maxim (rule) by which it was determined.

  • Principle of Volition

Third proposition of morality
Third Proposition of Morality

  • Duty is the necessity of acting from respect for the law.

1 st formulation
1st Formulation

  • “Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

2 nd formulation
2nd Formulation

  • “so act as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end withal, never as a means only…”