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Immanuel Kant The Good Will and Autonomy. Context for Kant Groundwork for Metaphysics of Morals- 1785- after American Revolution and Before French- rights.

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Presentation on theme: "Immanuel Kant The Good Will and Autonomy. Context for Kant Groundwork for Metaphysics of Morals- 1785- after American Revolution and Before French- rights."— Presentation transcript:

1 Immanuel Kant The Good Will and Autonomy

2 Context for Kant Groundwork for Metaphysics of Morals after American Revolution and Before French- rights Groundwork for Metaphysics of Morals after American Revolution and Before French- rights Morality is about respect for persons Morality is about respect for persons Informs contemporary thought Informs contemporary thought

3 Critiques Utilitarianism Utilitarianism leaves rights vulnerable-sacrifices one for whole. Utilitarianism leaves rights vulnerable-sacrifices one for whole. That majority get pleasure or favor a law- not make it right. That majority get pleasure or favor a law- not make it right. No empirical interests, pleasures- not calculation, right. No empirical interests, pleasures- not calculation, right.

4 Acting Freely Acting according to pleasures and desires- acting according to a determination given outside of us.- Sprite ’Obey your thirst.” Acting according to pleasures and desires- acting according to a determination given outside of us.- Sprite ’Obey your thirst.” Heteronomy- falling from building- governed by law of gravity- fall on someone- not morally responsible. Heteronomy- falling from building- governed by law of gravity- fall on someone- not morally responsible.

5 Look for Motive Ask for intention- why was it done? Ask for intention- why was it done? Prudent Shopkeeper Prudent Shopkeeper The Spelling Bee Hero The Spelling Bee Hero Doing what is right- not because of consequences. Doing what is right- not because of consequences.

6 Kantian Ethics What is the Ultimate Good?- “Good Will” What is the Ultimate Good?- “Good Will” What makes a person “good” is possession of a will that makes its decisions on the basis of moral law. What makes a person “good” is possession of a will that makes its decisions on the basis of moral law.

7 The Good Will Would not forfeit our moral goodness in order to attain some desirable end or object. Would not forfeit our moral goodness in order to attain some desirable end or object. The value of other qualities can be sacrificed or diminished under certain circumstances. The value of other qualities can be sacrificed or diminished under certain circumstances. Williams- Integrity- living with self. Williams- Integrity- living with self.

8 Good Will and Duty A good will is determined by moral demands- constrained to act in certain ways- according to duty. A good will is determined by moral demands- constrained to act in certain ways- according to duty. The moral agent, for Kant, gives priority to the moral demand- does not mean rule-bound character devoid of the warmth of human emotion. The moral agent, for Kant, gives priority to the moral demand- does not mean rule-bound character devoid of the warmth of human emotion.

9 Respect for Moral Law How different-? Respect the law or don’t- May violate moral requirements. How different-? Respect the law or don’t- May violate moral requirements. As beings of rational will- it is a law of practical reason-prescribes now any rational being should act. As beings of rational will- it is a law of practical reason-prescribes now any rational being should act.

10 Imperatives Hypothetical- an “if then” type of command- desire some end. Hypothetical- an “if then” type of command- desire some end. Distinction between ends that we “might will” and those which we “must will. Distinction between ends that we “might will” and those which we “must will. Happiness- indeterminate- happy without; happy with. Happiness- indeterminate- happy without; happy with.

11 Categorical Imperative “ Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” “ Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” Incorporates your reason as law. Incorporates your reason as law. Becomes a universal law governing all rational agents. Becomes a universal law governing all rational agents. What world becomes by this law. What world becomes by this law.

12 Contrasts in Kant ( Morality) Duty versus Inclination ( Morality) Duty versus Inclination (Freedom) Autonomy versus Heteronomy (Freedom) Autonomy versus Heteronomy (Reason) Categorical verus Hypothetical Imperative (Reason) Categorical verus Hypothetical Imperative

13 Different Duties Perfect duty to self-suicide no. Perfect duty to self-suicide no. Perfect duty to others- promises as example.- self- contradictory, world. p Perfect duty to others- promises as example.- self- contradictory, world. p Imperfect duty-self-talents. Imperfect duty-self-talents. Imperfect duty to others- helping others. Imperfect duty to others- helping others.

14 The Humanity Formula “Never act in a way that you treat Humanity, whether self or others, as a means only but always as an end in itself.” “Never act in a way that you treat Humanity, whether self or others, as a means only but always as an end in itself.” Respect for persons’ wills. Respect for persons’ wills. Regard- not a matter of degree or standard of judgment. Regard- not a matter of degree or standard of judgment.

15 Kingdom of Ends “Act in accordance with the maxims of a member giving universal laws for a merely possible kingdom of ends.” “Act in accordance with the maxims of a member giving universal laws for a merely possible kingdom of ends.” Our moral obligation is to act only on principles which could earn the acceptance of a community of fully rational agents each of whom has an equal share in legislating principles for the community. Our moral obligation is to act only on principles which could earn the acceptance of a community of fully rational agents each of whom has an equal share in legislating principles for the community.

16 Autonomy “The idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law.”- laws are of our own making. “The idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law.”- laws are of our own making. Autonomy- our status as free moral agents is the source of our dignity and worth- we are “moral beings above all.” Autonomy- our status as free moral agents is the source of our dignity and worth- we are “moral beings above all.”

17 Virtue and Vice Virtue is acting according to principles and have moral strength of will. It is not a matter of degree. Virtue is acting according to principles and have moral strength of will. It is not a matter of degree. It is a disposition to give decisive priority to moral demands. It is a disposition to give decisive priority to moral demands.

18 Deontological? Priceless value of a rational agent’s autonomous will. Priceless value of a rational agent’s autonomous will. Value of good will and person independent of the objects of our rational choices. Value of good will and person independent of the objects of our rational choices. You act out of universal principle exceptionless- Elements, (124f). You act out of universal principle exceptionless- Elements, (124f).


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