I provide an introduction and overview to Kantian Ethics; I outline and discuss Kant's first argument for the Categorical Imperative via the concept of the Good Will.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 9, 2019, 5:12 pm ad1c9bdddf
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INTRODUCTION TO KANT'S MORAL THEORY
1. All forms of Utilitarianism are teleological or consequentalist moral theories.
• The rightness of an action resides in the consequences achieved by the action.
2. If a theory of right action is NOT consequentialist then it is deontological.
• A deontological theory says that the moral value of an action does not only derive from the non-moral good brought about.
Some acts are wrong in themselves, independently of the consequences brought about.
EXAMPLE: It's wrong to kill an innocent person no matter how good the expected consequences are.
NOTE: A deontological theory NEED NOT say that consequences are always irrelevant
KANT'S MORAL THEORY: OVERVIEW
• Kant's moral theory is quite a radical deontological theory.
Kant claims that the consequences of an action are entirely IRRELEVANT to the moral value of the action.
Roughly, moral rightness in behaviour is a matter of acting CONSISTENTLY and RATIONALLY.
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander"!
If I drink your beer then I can't complain when you drink mine (Rachels 2003, p. 128)
Acting RATIONALLY entails acting on a RATIONAL MOTIVE.
Rough Kantian criterion for right action
An act is right if and only if it is done according to a rational principle.
Kant's fundamental principle of morality is called the
THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE
ARGUMENT 1: THE GOOD WILL
• Kant wants to discover the supreme moral principle underlying all moral judgements about obligations and duties.
He wants to find a principle that will tell us what our duties are, and explain why they are our duties.
• The first route he takes to this principle is through an analysis of the morally good person.
- this argument is supposed to be based in our 'ordinary moral awareness'.
[My analysis here draws extensively on that given by Sullivan 1994, ...
The expert provides an introduction, overview and the categorical imperative for Kant's Ethics.