2“[I]n ethics what is right in theory must work in practice.”
3Kant’s model The purpose of Ethical theory is to present the ground on which all ethical decisions rest.to identify the general form of (the formula for) moral goodness.
4What is Moral goodness?“Nothing in the world can possibly be conceived as good without qualification except a good will.”A good will = a free intention to act according to moral law.
5Morality is: A given reality: as law it is understood rationally “the moral law within”as law it is understood rationallyapplied consistently & impartiallywithout regard to outcomes or specific circumstancesexpressed in principles
6Morality is not: a matter of what we feel a matter of what is most efficienta product of human invention or whim
7Reason vs Feeling Feelings are particular & subjective tend to be arbitrary and unpredictableReason grasps what is universal & objectiveunderstands and applies principles
8Kant assumes: Humans are inherently rational. Humans possess free will.Humans are composite beings.Body (inclinations) and mind (reason).Which tend to be in conflictThis conflict defines moral struggle.
9The Moral Law: Kant’s Categorical Imperative Imperative: It commandsCategorical: It commands unconditionally, universally & absolutely, without exceptionA test for assessing the moral worth of any action:Can I will this action to become a universal law?
10Act only on that maxim which you can will to become universal law.
11What does Kant mean?maxim: personal principle of will that directs conduct.will: implies freedom of choiceWe choose our personal maxims.universal law: analogy is law of nature or laws of physics which apply equally & impartiallyLaws are objective& universally binding.
12Kant’s Categorical Imperative Expresses the basis of all moral actionA formal directive expressing what one ought to do, what we are obligated to do.Distinguished from hypothetical imperative:Do x if you want y.
13Principle of Autonomy Principle of Freedom: An action is moral if and only if it is:CHOSENfreelyrationallyBy the self (autonomously)Principle of Freedom:Freedom is a basic quality of the will of all rational beings.We cannot deny our freedom.
14Understanding Duty Duty is rational obligation. We act morally when: we act “from a sense of duty”not just “in accordance with duty”Test of duty is not met when we act from:HabitInstinctInclinationFeelings of any kindA desire to achieve the best consequences
15Categorical Imperative 2 Act always to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other, at the same time as an end, and never merely as a means.
16Implications Human beings have intrinsic value. They are ends in themselves.No human should be treated merely as a means to someone else’s ends.This is a general moral rule.Individual Responsibility for all our rational actions.But what of non rational actions?How far does intrinsic worth extend?
17Criticisms of Kant’s approach Critique 1: Kant’s emphasis on reason devalues the role of feeling and emotion in moral mattersResponse: Kant doesn’t say emotions don’t accompany morally potent situations, only that the ground of morality cannot be emotion.
18Critique: CI admits of no exceptions Kant does not consider the weight of circumstancesReply: Kant does distinguish the ideal from the practical; wishing from doing.Critique: Anything imperative can be universalized if we qualify it sufficiently.Response: We must distinguish between categorical and hypothetical imperatives.
19What people don’t like about Kant emphasizes struggleexcludes too many who seem gooddictates state of mind as a precondition of moralitycan’t handle conflicts of duty
20Advantages of Kant’s perspective: He emphasizes intentions.Mind of the agent is the moral factor.He emphasizes human dignity.basis of modern moral understandingpromotes principlesequality & justiceimpartiality & universality
21Philosophical Questions: What does Kant get right?Universality of human dignity?Imperative of respect?Can we correct the things in his theory we don’t like while preserving the best of his insight?