Kant’s view uses a categorical imperative, in which ethics is based upon an absolute, objective, deontologcial theory, in which intentions are more important than consequences. Kant believed that an ethics should be based around something entirely good. He decided that the only thing entirely good in the whole universe is ‘good will’. Everybody must decide ethical decisions in a way in which they put themselves last, fulfill their duty, and commit only selfless acts. This may be psychologically impossible, as many believe there is always a selfish reason for any good deed, however Kant only proposed a theory, and
It is unrealistic for Kant to expect all human beings to follow the universal law, as not everyone will use their rationality to do their duty. Human beings don’t all know what is morally right or wrong. Therefore it is unrealistic for Kant to expect all humans to be intrinsically good. Kant argues that humans have moral faculty meaning we are aware of what is right or wrong based on our reason. However this is an unrealistic expectation for Kant to think.
Kant thought that being moral requires rational behaviour which is an assumption used to explain the choices that people make with regards to achieving satisfaction not just following our feelings. Ultimately, Kant argued that being moral means freely choosing to follow duty for its own sake alone. Kant argued that the statement ‘God is a necessary being that exists’ is actually a synthetic statement and not an analytic one this is because we need to use sense experience to verify the truth of this statement. According to Kant, the moral law is objective true for everyone and is expressed as ‘synthetic a priori’, meaning that it may be true or false, but is not directly known from our experiences as it is part of a rational mind. The painting called the wanderer painted by Casper David Friedrich relates to what Kant said about the potential of humanity.
For a conscientious observer, this double standard should seriously cause him to question the ability of a consequentialist perspective to prescribe satisfactory moral understanding and guidance. By accommodating an agent’s moral feelings only when they are in accord with utility is indicative of a deeper failure to recognize that such feelings are often expressions of the agent’s own projects and commitments. Thus, to achieve an objective standard of right action, utilitarianism ultimately sacrifices the agent’s integrity by making right action irrelevant to those projects and commitments. The first part of my exposition focuses on what Williams sees as the reason for the popularity of consequentialist ethical theories, which is rooted in an illicit jump from thinking about moral kinds of actions to thinking about moral degrees of outcomes. The rest of my exposition explains how this jump directly leads to the
In the writings of Principa Ethica(1903);G.E Moore criticises the cognitive stance of Ethical naturalism of Naturalistic fallacy. Here Moore claims that one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”, this meaning that one cannot move from a fact to a moral judgment as, he saw this as logically inconsistent. For example one cannot say that ethical language or moral terms are similar to natural properties. This would deduce them to as meaningless. In fact, Moore claims that ethical language is similar to simple concepts, by this he means that one can only determine the meaning of ethical language in association with another object.
Those who oppose cognitivists are called non cognitivists and they believe that when someone makes a moral statement they are not describing the world, but they are merely expressing their feelings and opinions, they believe that moral statements are not objective therefore they cannot be verified as true or false. In this essay I will be discussing the multiple branches of cognitive theories and non cognitive theories in order to answer the Janus-like question whether or not moral statements truly hold objective meaning. Ethical naturalism is just one branch of a cognitive theory in which naturalists believe that ethical statements are the same as non-ethical ones, meaning they are all factual and can
PHIL 2230 – Moral Philosophy The Views of Kant and Aristotle on Morality: the Categorical and Hypothetical Imperatives Immanuel Kant discusses in his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals the idea of morality as abiding by moral laws – or categorical imperatives. An imperative is “the formula of the command” which indicates to a will – who does not always obey – what is good to do, and what is good to refrain from doing. Kant divides imperatives into two categories; hypothetical and categorical. The hypothetical imperative says “only that an action is good for some purpose, either possible or actual” and therefore an action is only good for its ends. However, the categorical imperative represents an action as “objectively necessary in itself”, with no end in mind.
While these theories hold much in common regarding how they see morality, they differ greatly in their reasoning for why they think that way. Aristotelian virtue ethics focus more on the person as a moral creature at heart and their desire for morality to be the driving force behind moral behavior. An excellent example of the difference in the three theories in this instance would be a situation involving lying. Dishonesty is considered morally wrong by most theories of ethics, but all of the moral theories approach it differently. Deontology, as espoused by Immanuel Kant, would argue against the morality of lying from a moral absolutism standpoint.
More precisely, one can think of Kant’s categorical imperative as the equivalent of the superego in Freud’s account. Kantian morality becomes the fundamental reason for man’s unhappiness, since there is no way of satisfying even a portion of man’s natural desires in such a moral philosophy. However, Freud’s criticism of an uncompromising set of morals like Kant’s does not mean that Freud is absolutely against morality. In fact, Freud recognizes the importance of morality and society insofar as they make man’s survival less painful and to the extent that they minimally conflict with man’s
An analysis of Kant’s ethics of duty and freedom as a response to all previous ethical theories proves the characteristics of the Kantian ethics and the most significant contrast to utilitarianism, according to Kant, is the ethics of duty in which normative judgments are made on the basis of the character of the action rather than its consequences. According to the Kantian ethics, people have the duty to act in certain ways even if it does not produce the best results. “The ethics of duty is rooted in Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative ‘Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law,’ which in turn is rooted in the belief that humans are rational beings capable of self-determination and self-governance. Every responsible person is therefore entitled to dignity and respect.” (Budd and Scoville, 2005, p 9). Thus, the views of Kant, who is the most important supporter in history of deontological ethics or the study of duty, insist that the single feature that gives an action moral value is the motive that is behind the action.