Explore BrainMass
Share

A critical analysis of Kant's ethical theory

This content was COPIED from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

I present a detailed critical evaluation of Kant's ethical theory, most particulary, the Categorical Imperative.

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com March 21, 2019, 11:56 am ad1c9bdddf
https://brainmass.com/philosophy/ethics-morals/critical-analysis-kants-ethical-theory-54002

Solution Preview

Please see attached file.

KANT'S ETHICS: AN ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION

IMPERATIVES: HYPOTHETICAL & CATEGORICAL

• Hypothetical imperatives prescribe the means to achieving some end.

• Categorical imperatives forbid / prescribe some course of action, PERIOD

Thou shall not lie
Thou shall not kill, etc.

• The supreme principle of morality is called, however, THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE

-It is derived from the concept of A MORAL IMPERATIVE [Kant's 2nd argument]

ARGUMENT SUMMARY
Since moral commands apply to us irrespective of our own goals and desires, they must be grounded in REASON.

Moral laws are the LAWS of reason
Since LAWS, do not admit of EXCEPTIONS,
Categorical imperatives are UNIVERSAL

The general form of ALL moral imperatives is The Categorical Imperative
- (1) conformity, (2) Universality

THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE AS TEST

• The Categorical Imperative commands courses of action by TESTING the moral quality of MAXIMS

• Maxims are POLICIES, or PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT on which person's ACT.

Maxims have the form: Whenever [1)] then I will do [2]...
(1) What the circumstance is...
(2) What the proposed conduct is...

E.g.: Whenever I need money, I will make a false promise to get it...

• The C.I. test can be used to test ANY MAXIM of the form above...E.G., Whenever I want to get good marks, I will work hard...

• If a maxim FAILS the Categorical Imperative TEST, then it is IMPERMISSIBLE to act upon.
-MAXIMS that fail THE C. I. TEST are unacceptable policies of behaviour

• If a maxim PASSES the Categorical Imperative TEST, then it is PERMISSABLE to act upon.

This DOESN'T SAY that one MUST act on this MAXIM - IT'S OK TO ACT ON
FAILING THE TEST

MAXIMS may fail the Categorical Imperative Test in TWO DIFFERENT WAYS:

1. The maxim cannot be CONCEIVED as a universal law without contradiction...

2. The maxim CAN be conceived as a law of nature without contradiction, BUT cannot be WILLED WITHOUT ...

Solution Summary

The expert determines the critical analysis of Kant's ethical theory.

$2.19