Explain the theory of duty in Kantian Ethics (25 marks) Kantian ethics is an absolutist theory as Kant claimed what is morally ‘good’ is constant and unchanging. Because of this, it can be a universal concept applied in different societies and cultures with the idea that an action should only be performed for duty’s sake. His approach was deontological because the idea of right or wrong was based on the action rather than the consequence, he believed that this was the only rational basis for morality and could be proven objectively, independent from emotion and opinion. As humans we have the innate ability to reason, something which we gained prior to any sensory experience in this world. This is an idea which is absolute and according to Kant, the way we decide the morality of an action.
2. Examples: a) ”the notion of duty” A good will is a will that is for duty and what you do is only moral if it is done for duty. Doing something with duty being your only reason to act is morally right, and it does not have to be enjoyable only morally right. b) ”I would express thus, Duty is the necessity of acting from respect for the law. I may have an inclination for an object as the effect of my proposed action, but I cannot have respect for it, just for this reason, that it is an effect and not an energy of will.
Romales Harty Ethics/Morals Immanuel Kant Intentions vs. Consequence In Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals Kant parleys about goodwill, duty, and the categorical imperative. When Kant states “the true vocations of reason must be to produce a will that is good, not perhaps as a means to other purposes, but good in itself, for which reason was absolutely necessary. This will need not, because of this, be the sole and complete good, but it must still be the highest good and the condition of every other, even of all demands for happiness”, implies that goodwill is what makes you good as a person. You have to want to mean good and use reason to figure out what to do with goodwill (desire).
This postulate of God has origin in one’s own reason which would necessarily mean that submitting to will of God is submitting to one’s own reason. The need of God arises because the relationship between moral law and happiness is not guaranteed in this world. So here God comes to the rescue and thus necessitates the compatibility of virtue and realization of highest good. The postulate of immortality is very much interwoven with the postulate of God. Taking into account the sensuous nature of human beings, Kant states that it is very difficult for a man to be righteous without hope.
Kant also believed in humans’ innate moral duty. Kant’s primary point was his theory that all of us have moral duty and that our conscience is what tells us when we go against this, through being guilty or shameful. Therefore, an action which can be classed as good or moral is one which fulfils this sense of duty. Kant also believed that reason was the way to reach realisation and that we can find out moral duty by thinking objectively. In addition, Kant said that we should not be inclined to do things and that we should think about things and try and apply his ethical theory before carrying them out, therefore, we should not do things because of our emotions.
Comparison between deontological and utilitarian ethics Deontological ethics Deontology is a normative theory attributed to Immanuel Kant, which focuses on the concept of the duty. It is concerned on fulfilling what is believed to be a moral duty without considering its impact to other people. It takes the stand that the duty defines the right actions regardless of the consequences. The hold of deontological ethics is that doing right is what conform the moral laws. According to Kant, right actions are not done by following inclinations, impulses or obeying the principle of greatest happiness but are done simply and purely from the sense of duty.
A. Based on the theodical “free-will defense,” it is possible for a God to possess the properties of being “benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient” while at the same time allowing the existence of evils; therefore, the two should not be contradictory. B. Set aside all the legislative, judicial and government regulatory systems, it is an indisputable fact that the all-loving God has given us, humans, free-will, which is defined as a “free and responsible choice” by Swinburne. The “choice” here represents a decision between good and evil, which implies that there is always an inevitable non-predetermined possibility (of either evil or good or both), which may substantially harm or (and) benefit the others, the initiator (one who makes the choice), and perhaps, the world, that comes with this privileged free-will.
The difference is that utilitarianism states that no matter what a person should never stray from the moral that will bring the greatest good. Kant justifies that under certain circumstances one could stray from the moral as long as the truths are logically consistent and universalizable. Utilitarianism is broken down into two categories; act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. The act utilitarian believes that one cannot establish rules in advance to cover all situations, actions and people because they are all different. The rule utilitarian believes that there are enough human motives and situations to justify setting up rules that apply to all humans and situations.
Explain what is meant by moral absolutism Moral absolutism also known as moral objectivism is the belief that there are fixed universal laws which are true irrespective of time, place and situation. This belief is that an action can be intrinsically right or wrong in itself, and this is not dependent on outcome, culture or time. Moral absolutism is a priori and objective; based on facts and logic, and on the most part deontological. It is always right or wrong. It is important to note that although all moral absolutists agree that there are fundamental ethical laws they disagree on the origin or authority of these laws.
Morality and the Universal Maxim “There is therefore only one categorical imperative and it is this: ‘Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.’” (9p. 176, § 25). Kant calls the most important principle of morality the “categorical imperative”; this means that any moral law we hold must be both unconditional and apply to all rational beings. Each action we take, in order to be considered moral, must fall under this standard. Immorality therefore is the violation of such law.