C) immanuel kant

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C) immanuel kant

  1. 1. Source Materials<br />ethics.sandiego.edu/theories/kant/​index.asp <br />
  2. 2. Kantian ethics is based upon the teachings of the philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). According to Kant, the concept of “motive” is the most important factor in determining what is ethical. More specifically, Kant argued that a moral action is one that is performed out of a “sense of duty” or a “obligation.”<br />
  3. 3. Kant: Deontological Ethical Theory<br />Kant's theory is an example of a deontological or duty-based ethics : it judges morality by examining the nature of actions and the will of agents rather than goals achieved. <br />A deontological theory looks at inputs rather than outcomes. <br />One reason for the shift away from consequences to duties is that we cannot control the future. We are praised or blamed for actions within our control, and that includes our willing, not our achieving. <br />This is not to say that Kant did not care about the outcomes of our actions--we all wish for good things.<br />Kant insisted that as far as the moral evaluation of our actions was concerned, consequences did not matter. <br />
  4. 4. For Kant, a moral action is not based upon feelings or pity. <br />It is not based on the possibility of reward.<br />It is a moral action that is based on a sense of “This is what I ought to do.”<br />
  5. 5. Example<br />Helping an old lady across the street because you feel pity for her is nota moral act. Helping an old lady because your coworker will think highly of you is nota moral act. However, helping an old lady because you have a sense of duty to help the elderly isa moral act.<br />Because motive is the most important factor in Kantian ethics, it is possible for an action to have negative consequences while still being a moral act. For example, if acting out of a sense of duty or obligation you attempt to save a drowning child, but in the process you accidentally drown the child, your action is still considered a moral one.<br />
  6. 6. Categorical Imperative<br />Kant believed that moral requirements are based on standards of rationality, i.e., logic.<br />In other words, conformity to the categorical imperatives can be shown to be essential to rational reasoning.<br />Categorical imperatives are moral requirements.<br />
  7. 7. Rational Reasoning<br />According to Kant rational reasoning isregarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it. <br />The fundamental principle of morality is the law of an autonomous will. <br />You must will to do what you are doing, i.e., do it intentionally….your intent.<br />
  8. 8. 3 Forms of Categorical Imperative<br />Categorical Imperative: a command which expresses a general, unavoid­able requirement of the moral law. Its three forms express the requirements of universalizability, respect and autonomy. Together they establish that an action is properly called 'morally good' only if (1) we can will all persons to do it, (2) it enables us to treat other persons as the purpose for our actions and not merely as the means to our own selfishness, and (3) it allows us to see other persons as mutual law-makers in an ideal way of life.  <br />
  9. 9. Universalizability<br />According to Kant if the maxim or rule governing our action is not capable of being universalized, then it is unacceptable. <br />Note that universalizability is not the same as universality. Kant's point is not that we would all agree on some rule if it is moral. Instead, we must be able to will that it be made universal; the idea is very much like the golden rule --Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. <br />If you cannot will that everyone follow the same rule, your rule is not a moral one. <br />
  10. 10. Will, Universalizability, and Respect<br />A categorical imperative grounding all other ethical judgments. The imperative would have to be categorical rather than conditional, since true morality should not depend on our individual likes and dislikes or on our abilities and opportunities. They are absolutes.<br />Ultimate principles of ethics can not be relative to a specific time, place, socio-economic group, gender, religion, culture, or if-then situation. <br />Among the various formulations of the categorical imperative, two are particularly worth noting: <br />
  11. 11. Will, Universalizability, and Respect<br />Always act in such a way that you can also will that the maxim of your action should become a universal law. <br />Act so that you treat humanity, both in your own person and in that of another, always as an end and never merely as a means.<br />Although ultimately the above are formally equivalent, the first illustrates the need for moral principles to be applied universally. The second points to the radical distinction to be made between things and persons, and emphasizes the necessity of respect for persons. <br />
  12. 12. Respect for Persons<br />Categorical imperative emphasize respect for persons . Persons, unlike things, ought never to be merely used. Their value is never merely instrumental; they are ends in themselves. Of course, a person may be useful, but must always at the same time be treated with all the respect due to a person, i.e., also as an end. <br />In an ethics of duty, the ends can never justify the means.  Individual human rights are acknowledged and inviolable. <br />We can not let the satisfaction of harmful desires in our moral deliberations. <br />
  13. 13. Human Worth: Reason for Categorical Imperative<br />Humans have "an intrinsic worth" making us valuable "above all price" which animals lack.<br /><ul><li>consequently animals have no moral standing
  14. 14. we are free to use them as means to our ends
  15. 15. without considering their ends (desire) </li></ul>In virtue of which human beings should never be used as means to ends. <br />
  16. 16. Rational for Human Worth<br />Only people have:<br /> conscious desires <br />hence intrinsic goals <br />Only people are:<br />rational agents <br />free agents capable of making decisions<br />setting our own goals<br />guiding our conduct by reason <br />
  17. 17. Rationality<br />Humans are rational beings beyond value since we are the sources of value:<br /> the moral law is the law of reason<br />rational beings are the embodiment of that law itself <br />moral goodness can exist only insofar as: <br />rational agents autonomously and respectfully reason a universal moral law <br />acting from a sense of duty, do it <br />
  18. 18. Respecting Rationality<br />A duty of respecting the rationality of others because to do otherwise would impede choice and the achievement of goals and manipulate them.<br />Respecting peoples “rational” choices regardless of their outcome does not mean that you think their choices are right.<br />You also respect the consequences of their choices.<br />
  19. 19. Rational Consequences<br />Rational consequence is justified, favorable or unfavorable, regardless of the outcome…..even if it increases the sum total of misery over happiness in the world <br />Individual deserve the end result of their intended actions. <br />
  20. 20. Example<br />Imprisonment for the sake of deterrence uses the person as means to a (socially desirable) end, violating the person's dignity. Society has the moral right to use prison as a place to pay them back for their crime, i.e., their rational choices.<br />"Rehabilitation" (manipulation) society tries to psychologically trick them into accepting the rules and values the dominant group thinks they should accept. Society has no right to violate their integrity by trying to manipulate their personalities. <br />
  21. 21. Rational Consequences<br />According to Kant The consequence should "suit" or be proportional to the action.<br />slanderers should be defamed<br />thieves should be deprived of property<br />assault should be repaid with corporeal punishment<br />murder with death (capital punishment) <br />
  22. 22. What determines the seriousness of the crime?<br />It is the selfishness or hubrisof the intent that determines the seriousness of a transgression/crime.<br />It is the selfishness or hubrisof the intent that makes murder worse than the intent to steal.<br />The intent of a murderer is a more grievous violation than stealing because it eliminates the victim’s autonomy.<br />
  23. 23. It is the lack of respect and using the person as a means to an end that determines the seriousness of a transgression/crime.<br />I someone is murdered they are a means to an end, not an end.<br />
  24. 24. It is the lack of universalization that determines the seriousness of a transgression/crime.<br />We cannot murder everyone we chose to murder.<br />
  25. 25. Kantian justice holds that the perpetrator is morally responsible for their misdeeds <br />Animals & the mentally incompetent are not morally responsible because they act from necessity and not liberty and they can’t understand the rightness or wrongness of their acts.<br />Rational beings have free will to choose to do or refrain from doing what they are capable of understanding to be right or wrong. <br />
  26. 26. Categorical imperative dictate that repaying in kind we are in effect enforcing the maxim of their misbehavior as universal law showing them the consequence(s) of the maxim.<br />
  27. 27. Example<br />One can determine whether a maxim of lying to secure a loan is moral by attempting to universalize it and applying reason to the results. If everyone lied to secure loans, the very practices of promising and lending would fall apart (sounds rational, look at the housing situation), and the maxim would then become impossible. Kant calls such acts examples of a contradiction in conception because they undermine the very basis for their existence.<br />
  28. 28. Questioning Necessary To Determine Respect<br />Among the main questions about respect that philosophers have addressed are these: (1) How should respect in general be understood? (a) What category of thing is it? Philosophers have variously identified it as a mode of behavior, a form of treatment, a kind of valuing, a type of attention, a motive, an attitude, a feeling, a tribute, a principle, a duty, an entitlement, a moral virtue, an epistemic virtue: are any of these categories more central than others? (b) What are the distinctive elements of respect? (c) To what other attitudes, actions, values, duties, etc. is respect similar, and with what does it contrast? (d) What beliefs, attitudes, emotions, motives, and conduct does respect involve, and with what is it incompatible?<br />
  29. 29. Respect<br />(2) What are the appropriate objects of respect, i.e., the sorts of things that can be reasonably said to warrant respect? (3) What are the bases or grounds for respect, i.e., the features of or facts about objects in virtue of which it is reasonable and perhaps obligatory to respect them? (4) What ways of acting and forbearing to act express or constitute or are regulated by respect? (5) What moral requirements, if any, are there to respect certain types of objects, and what is the scope and theoretical status of such requirements?<br />
  30. 30. Respect<br />(6) Are there different levels or degrees of respect? Can an object come to deserve less or no respect? (7) Why is respect morally important? What, if anything, does it add to morality over and above the conduct, attitudes, and character traits required or encouraged by various moral principles or virtues? (8) What are the implications of respect for problematic moral and sociopolitical issues such as racism and sexism, pornography, privacy, punishment, responses to terrorism, paternalism in health care contexts, cultural diversity, affirmative action, abortion, and so on?<br />
  31. 31. Questioning Universalization as a Global Citizen <br />How much of our universalization is culturally relative? How much do we know about the global experience? Do humans name what they are familiar with normal? Do humans habituate life and like things repetitive? How do we develop our premises that lead to our conclusions?<br />
  32. 32. Questioning Will/Intent<br />Is a persons intent always good even when they think it is good? Do persons know enough to will for another? Can willing for another limit their autonomy? Can willing for another cause them to form beliefs (norms and patterns)?<br />
  33. 33. Criticism of Kant<br />Kantian ethics has been criticized on several points. First, some say Kant’s approach gives little aid for complex situations. For example, what if there are conflicts of duty? Suppose you decide that two duties are (1) telling the truth; and (2) protecting your friends. But what if a madman with an axe asked you where your best friend was so he could murder him or her? Do you tell the truth and thus lead the murderer to your friend? Or do you lie and save your friend’s life? Interestingly, Kant believed telling a lie was always wrong even if a vicious murderer asked you where your friend was so he could murder him.<br />
  34. 34. Second, some say Kant dismisses emotions such as pity and compassion as irrelevant to morality. But many think these are “moral” emotions that cannot be separated from morality. Why should helping an old lady across the street out of compassion not be considered moral? What is wrong with compassion and pity?<br />
  35. 35.  <br />Third, some say Kant’s approach does not take the consequences of actions seriously enough. What if a well-intentioned person with a good motive causes a number of deaths? He would be morally blameless according to Kant’s view. <br />What if a well-intentioned babysitter dries your cat in a microwave oven? Would you say, “That’s okay, her motive was good.”<br />

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