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Moral law and Kant’s imperatives. Starter: Look over and remind yourself what the difference between A priori and A posteriori is. And Analytic and Synthetic.

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Presentation on theme: "Moral law and Kant’s imperatives. Starter: Look over and remind yourself what the difference between A priori and A posteriori is. And Analytic and Synthetic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Moral law and Kant’s imperatives. Starter: Look over and remind yourself what the difference between A priori and A posteriori is. And Analytic and Synthetic Wednesday 25 th September 2013

2 The moral law Using your keyword sheet complete the task on your A4 sheet. If you struggle also use pg 49-50. Conclusion: What type of statements are ethical ones? Remember as well it must be able to be universalised to be moral. What is good will to Kant?

3 How do we become moral?

4 Duty… We each have a duty to act morally and to follow moral law. Duty is different from acting out of inclination or compassion Kant’s theory of ethics is an absolute one; he believes we should do our duty because it is our duty to do so.

5 Continued… Kant believed in an objective right and wrong based on moral reason. We should do the right thing just because it is right and not because it fulfils our desires or is based on our feelings. We know what is right not by relying on our intuitions or facts about the world about the world, but by using our reason. To test a moral maxim, we need to ask whether we can always say thatmaxim everyone should follow it and we must reject it if we cannot. For Kant moral judgements are not relative or subjective. Although modern deontology avoids too close a link with Kant, criticising him for being too absolute, his moral theory is still influential.

6 Kant’s moral theory begins with The phenomenon of ‘GOOD WILL’, celebrating what can be achieved by the application of human reason. GOOD WILL For Kant if I am to act morally then I must be capable of exercising freedom or autonomy of the will. “It is impossible to conceive of anything in all the world which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will. Good will is like a jewel, it should shine by its own light, as a thing which has it’s own value in itself” CELEBRATION!! Key thought We know we are free because we experience moral choice. We do not experience moral choice only after coming to the conclusion that we are free. Key thought We know we are free because we experience moral choice. We do not experience moral choice only after coming to the conclusion that we are free.

7 The shopkeeper A shopkeeper is always kind and friendly to you when you go into his shop, he highlights special offers and is prepared to offer you cut price deals as a regular customer. All of these will be limiting his profits What possible reasons are there for this kind of behaviour? What would the reason be for Kant?

8 An example from Kant There are two butchers in a town one of them ( Frank) desires increased trade, a good reputation and an ever expanding turnover. In order to achieve this he sells only the best meat, gives excellent service and never cheats his customers. The other butcher (Fred) does exactly the same as Frank except that he believes, by reason, that he ought to and for no other reason than this. His motive is pure and unconditional.

9 Imperatives… Imperative – Something that must be done. “All imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically… if the action would be good simply as a means to something else, then the imperative is hypothetical; but if the action is represented as good in itself… then the imperative is categorical.”

10 Hypothetical Imperative A moral command that is conditional on personal motive or desire. It informs us of a factual relation between a goal and how to achieve it. There is no concept of obligation attached to it and Kant didn’t see any moral reference in there. Hypothetical imperatives always begin with an ‘if’. If you want X then you must do Y. If I want to lose weight then I ought to go on a diet…

11 Categorical Imperative Tells us what we ought to do. Kant argued that morality is prescriptive and moral statements are categorical in that they prescribe actions irrespective of the result. They are moral obligations. An unconditional moral law that applies to all rational beings and is independent of personal motive or desire. For Kant the C.I. was the principle that one should act on a maxim only if one can will that it becomes universal law.

12 An example from Kant There are two butchers in a town one of them ( Frank) desires increased trade, a good reputation and an ever expanding turnover. In order to achieve this he sells only the best meat, gives excellent service and never cheats his customers. HYPOTHETICAL The other butcher (Fred) does exactly the same as Frank except that he believes, by reason, that he ought to and for no other reason than this. His motive is pure and unconditional. CATEGORICAL

13 Three Principles of the C.I. 1.Universal Law. 2.Treat Humans as ends not as ‘means to an end’ 3.The Kingdom of Ends

14 Universal Law. 1.Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should be universal law. Kant calls this the Formulation of Nature and argued that the only actions that are moral are those that can be universalised – applied in all situations and to all rational beings, without exception.

15 Treat humans as ends not a ‘means to an end This means that you should act so that you treat humanity, both in your own person and in the person of every other human being, never merely as a means, but always at the same time as an end. Kant held human beings as the pinnacle of creation. Therefore, it can never be moral to exploit people, to use them as a means to an end. Each person is unique and of equal value so cannot be sacrificed, even if it would result in some overall greater good.

16 The Kingdom Of Ends Act on the assumption that all will act in the same way. You should act as if you were through your maxim a law-making member of a kingdom of ends. (Christian saying?) Kant argued that our actions had to be based on the assumption that others would also act morally and treat everyone as ends, not means.

17 Key Thought The implication of Kant’s Categorical Imperative is that, as free, autonomous, rational, moral agents, we do not discover morality – we make it! Key Thought The implication of Kant’s Categorical Imperative is that, as free, autonomous, rational, moral agents, we do not discover morality – we make it!

18 Examples… An example of a moral rule, derived from the previous principles of the Categorical Imperative, would be: ‘Do not lie’. Kant argues that this rule applies universally. He applied the following reasoning. Is it moral to lie? He would apply the first law and reason what would happen if it were universalised. Such action – lying – would clearly harm society. It would also involve treating people as means to an end rather than as ends themselves. The conclusion is the lying is immoral.

19 Write the correct words in the correct diagram Not absolute * ‘ought’ Unconditional * characterised by the word if Universally valid * extrinsic Must be obeyed * A priori law Not unconditional * intrinsic Only works for the heteronymous will Non moral Only works for the autonomous will Duty For the sake of something else External Use of reason

20 Hypothetical Imperative external

21 CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE

22 Hypotheti cal Imperative Not absolute Not unconditio nal Only works from the Heterony mous will Non moral For the sake of Something else externalextrinsic Characteri sed By the word IF

23 CATEGORICAL IMPERATI VE unconditi onal Universal ly valid Must be obeyed Use of reason intrinsic‘ought’ A PRIORI LAW duty Only works from the AUTONOMOUS WILL

24 AUTONOMOUS WILL Acts freely Acts rationally Without compulsion Willing Dutiful No inner desires

25 HETERONOMOUS WILL Does not act freely Rationally constrained Morally fettered Inner desires

26 Homework Kant week – Complete the Log. This will help you to begin to consider the strengths and weaknesses of Kant’s ethical theory. You must complete this to help you with the tasks next lesson. No exceptions!!!


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