Kant’s Ethics of Duty. 3 insights form the basis for Kant’s Ethical Theory An action has moral worth if it is done for the sake of duty. ( DUTY) An action is morally correct if its maxim can be willed as a universal law. ( UNIVERSALIZABILITY)
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3 insights form the basis for Kant’s Ethical Theory
Acting for the sake of duty is:
Before Kant ethics focused on the concept of "the good"
What does it mean to act from duty?
When is the motive of duty easiest to see?
Duty resides with the will, not with feeling. Why? [related to the problems with inclinations as a basis for ethics]
The moral worth of an action done from duty is not in the "purpose to be attained,” [i.e. consequences] but in the maxim (or law) on which the action is decided.
3rd PROPOSTION: "Duty is the necessity to act out of reverence for the law.
We must act from the IDEA OF THE LAW ITSELF
The Categorical Imperative is the means by which we determine what the moral law is.
"I ought never to act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.”
The example of Lying: If we will it to be a universal law -- we lose the advantage from our lying. Consider the matter of Consistency - lying loses 2 ways here
1. If we imagine the consequences of everyone lying we cannot consistently will that everyone adopt this maxim.
2. OR: I cannot consistently will that I lie and you don’t!
The requirement of Impartiality & Fairness means that we cannot make an exception of ourselves.
To formulate a maxim correctly you must:
The maxim needs to be related to the
1. motivating reasons of the agent,
2. to the act itself and
3. to a universal system of reasons.
We should respect all human beings impartially.
Think: What is the connection between acting on a universal moral maxim and respecting all human beings impartially?
Whether we are using a person as a “mere means” can be hard to determine as our motives are often mixed, but a “mere means” situation may involve the following characteristics:
What do Kant’s 2 principles ensure about the decision we make ? That it is --