Reason is much better than experience because we should all be able to think, and agree, but what is right and wrong. As soon as we introduce experience to morality it becomes confused because we all have different experiences or have different cultures and customs.
Other things can be corrupted to serve evil ends (brave thief) but good cannot without changing its definition. Good intentions are all that matter even if the results are bad. Consequences do not matter only good intentions.
Duty – we do something because it is the right thing to do – nothing else. Inclination – acting from inclination means you are behaving according to your personality – you are not choosing this behaviour – Kant says that the only moral praise comes from freely choosing to do a thing.
Moral rules are examples of categorical imperatives. C.I.’s apply to everyone in a similar situation and is a command (do not lie). C.I.’s are tests that we apply to all maxims to test whether the maxims are moral or not.
We cannot act on maxims that are logically impossible, as they simply cannot work. This is being treated in a way you would not like to be treated yourself i.e. always take what you want from who you want.
We cannot act on maxims that rationally inconsistent i.e. never help those in need. One day we might need help so it is rationally inconsistent to universalise this maxim – even though it is possible to do so.
We should never use others as a means to an end without their knowledge. We should not do this because a human being deserves to be treated as a rational, thinking, feeling thing. Treating them as a means devalues them.
How can we tell what someone’s motive really is? We cannot see motives! We cannot always dismiss consequences – they are important – people would never follow maxims unless they produced good consequences.
Which duty do you follow when duties conflict? You might have a duty to tell the truth and a duty to keep promises – which one do you follow when they conflict. Sometimes we are morally obliged to not follow a certain duty.
Explain the Problem of Ignoring Other Good Motives.
Emotions are very important to us. Why should we not act out of love, anger or compassion? Acting always from duty can mean we are lacking in humanity.
Explain the Problem of Misguided Perceptions of Duty.
Do we obey bad laws or corrupt governments simply because it is our duty? Jim Crow laws? Living in a dictatorship?