Regarded as the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment age.
Had a major impact on the Romantic and Idealist philosophies of the 19 th century.
Transcendental idealism —that we bring innate forms and concepts to the raw experience of the world, which would otherwise be unknowable.
Epistemology was an attempt, which many would argue was successful, to solve the conflict between Rationalism and Empiricism.
Categorical Imperative – Hypthical Laws of societies morality.
Immorality is Irrational
Reason over emotion and Universality† over subjectivity in any moral judgment.
Removing all subjectivity and particularity from motivation we are only left with Will to Universality, and if a moral rule is to be, the moral law must be derived from concepts of pure pure reason alone.
Hypothetical Imperative, or rule of action for achieving that end if certain conditions are met, but Kant argues that acceptable conception of the moral law cannot be merely hypothetical.
Moral Duty ( Categorical Imperative) † Universality - Our actions cannot be moral on the ground of some conditional purpose or goal. Morality requires an unconditional statement of one's duty. Example : The question "what rule determines what I ought to do in this situation?" becomes "what rule ought to universally guide my action?"
In Christianity this could be expressed as 'Treat others as you want them to treat you.' (Matthew 7:12)). In other words, would we be happy for others to act in the same way we do? 2. 'Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but at the same time as an end.' This means that humans are the most important factor in any ethical decision making. Human suffering is never justified as a means to any end. 3. 'So act as if you were through your maxims a law-making member of a kingdom of ends' We should always keep in mind the rights of others. No-one should ever become a pawn in our 'game of life'. Categorical Imperative Two types of contradictions: "Contradictions in Conception" – where everyone lies and is expected that everyone will lie so it is normal for you to lie. So lying is pointless as no will trust the agent. “ Contradictions in Will” – a self-reliant person (agent) who thinks everyone should mind their own business requesting help from others. 1. ‘Act as if the maxim of your action was to become through your Will a Universal law of nature’.
Our actions, whether or not we achieve our goal is often beyond our control, so the morality of our actions does not depend upon their outcome.
Kant believed that human nature was ‘fundamentally good’ and thus could reason correct moral choices. This 'goodness' was not trained but was 'good through its willing alone'.
Moral Goodness Kant distinguishes two different types of Intrinsic or Extrinsic goods. If a thing is only Extrinsically good, such as intellect or courage, then it is possible for that thing to be evil, such as a smart, courageous murderer.
We have Universal Duties, which hold despite one's own inclinations.
Deontological ethics – Is the view that morality either forbids or permits actions.
Theory of conduct - The study of right and wrong, of obligation and permissions, of duty, of what is above and beyond the call of duty, and what is so wrong as to be evil.
Kant reasoned that morality, the limiting of yourself from engaging in certain behaviors as the behaviors compared to our maxim where immoral. That expressing morality is the highest concept of freedom.
Freedom consisted of freedom from being influenced by external force, influencing external persons. Example, the greed or desire of procession of another object means you’re beholden (enslaved) to that outside force. Hence your not free from that object, hence your morally unclean.
If a person decided to go against the universal moral law and rob a bank. Does imprisoning (removing) them correct their maxim while surround by other society corrupt maxims?
IE: Can a prisoner become socially reformed in jail?
Moral Lying Back in Discussion #2 we covered is lying good. Most people answered that it depends on the circumstances and the condition of the lie. At one point, it was suggested that it may be perfectly acceptable for ‘powers that be’ can lie to us. I like to visit this outlook. 2. Applying Kant’s Imperative, why did the ‘Contradiction in Conception’ block this from being acceptable behavior even though Kant reasoned that it was intrinsically wrong to lie?