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Categorical Imperative

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Presentation on theme: "Categorical Imperative"— Presentation transcript:

1 Categorical Imperative
Emmanuel Kant (A.D. 18c)

2 Kant Joke         Knock, knock Who's there? Kant Kant who? Kant you stop these terrible jokes?

3 Kant rejects: Heteronomy-allowing someone/something else to decide which moral laws each person should follow This includes the divine command theory and utilitarianism Rejects societal standard for ethical behaviour

4 Reason Kant promotes personal decision making and responsibility
Use reason to determine which actions are “Good”

5 Good Will The ability to be motivated by reason or maxims
Motivated by duty -> how we ought to behave Duty -- Deon Kant’s ethics are deontological (duty based) as opposed to Aristotle’s ethics which are teleological (end based)

6 How are these duties defined?
“Moral duty does not rest at all on feelings, impulses and inclinations, but merely on the relation of rational beings to one another.”

7 Maxims By moral maxims Maxims are rules which are based on principles that allow human beings to use reason to create an ethic.

8 First Moral Maxim “I ought never to act except in such a way that my maxim should become a universal moral law.”

9 1st Moral Maxim Can I will that my action become a universal moral law? Would I still perform my act if I know it would become a universal moral law? Kant’s appeal is to logical consistency not the consequences of the action.

10 Example I need money and have no way to pay it back.
No one will lend me money if I cannot pay it back. Therefore, I will lie to acquire the money I need.

11 Solution Here is the universal moral law that is being created by acting in such a manner. Ask yourself this question: If all people in this world made promises that they had no intention of keeping could this become a universal moral law?

12 Answer The answer is no. Kant does not argue that the consequences of the action are bad therefore the action is bad. He makes the argument that the practice of promise keeping would become impossible.

13 Kant also argued that some actions are wrong because we are not willing to have everyone act in such a way. Would a society function where every person discriminates based on race? Possibly, but this, Kant argues, is a society we would not want to live in.

14 2nd Moral Maxim “So act in such a way as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other always as a means and never merely as an end.”

15 2nd Moral Maxim Kant argued that each person had a fundamental dignity that gives each person a value beyond price. Thus, it is wrong to use people without their consent for our own selfish desires. Morality requires that we always give others the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they wish to join in our actions. This rules out all forms of coercion, deception, force or manipulation. The implication is that we should promote people’s capacity for freedom.

16 Objections Is the right thing to be honest in all circumstances?
Is withholding information the same as telling lies? Is allowing a person to continue with a false belief a form of lying?

17 Kevin Carter - Photographer

18 How do duty and autonomy go together?

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