Presentation on theme: "WHAT IS HIS DUTY? Duty - something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation. Your response:"— Presentation transcript:
WHAT IS HIS DUTY? Duty - something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation. Your response:
WHAT IS HER DUTY? Your response: Duty - something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
WHAT IS HIS DUTY? Your response: Duty - something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
WHAT IS YOUR DUTY? Your response: Duty - something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
Immanuel Kant Famous dead German (not Hitler) Immanuel Kant was a hugely influential philosopher. Kant thought it was possible to develop a system of ethics and morals based on reason.
Kant, along with other philosophers of the ‘enlightenment’, attaches great importance to man’s ability to reason A human being is essentially, a rational being. Reason, says Kant, is an innate, intellectual power existing more or less equally in all men, it enables the individual to resolve problems in a way, more or less acceptable to everyone. If reason is universal, the moral commands generated by reason will be universal and applicable to all men.
Kant’s Morality Morals have an absolute value - absolutist, realist, objectivist They’re not ‘out there’ Morality is inside of us, we all have a sense of moral duty Wanted a universal moral law
I am the ghost of Immanuel Kant --- ooooohh!!! I don’t agree with Bentham and Mills’ utilitarian theories because I don’t think moral actions are based on consequences. I think they are based on motives and the actions themselves. Let me show you an example! My sister’s being bullied. Some of my friends are really hard and they have started to bully her too. I am worried about her. I want my friends to like me though and if I stand up to them they will bully both of us. According to utilitarian theory, it would be okay for the boy to do nothing about her sister because that would result in the greatest pleasure for the greatest number. What would utilitarians say about this? What do you think I would say about this? According to Kantian ethics, this boy should not even think about the consequences it would have for him or his sister. He should just follow his inbuilt moral code and do his duty. He has this duty because he has reason.
Reasoning You see, all human beings have reason. In order to act morally, therefore, everybody must follow their duty. Their duty is to follow the moral law. We all have an in built awareness of what we should do and we should follow that. We should not be led by our emotions or our experiences because we know what to do from our duty.
The boy makes the right decision. He protects his sister. This makes him good… why? The boy is good not because he has saved his sister, or because he has made himself feel pleased with himself. He is good because he has made sure the ‘greatest good’ (summun bonum) is done. This is an act of good will. Someone of ‘goodwill’ is not good because of what they achieve/accomplish (consequences) but because he/she acts out of duty. A person performs an action not for wealth, prestige etc because it is your duty. “Good will shines forth like a precious jewel It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will” (Kant: The Metaphysics of Morals)
Kant’s formula for ethics… Kant argued that rational duty was behind ethics and morals. In other words, the motive behind an action is very important. He believed the only truly good thing is goodwill. Every other characteristic, like being helpful, cheerful, kind, loving, etc., could all be used for evil intentions except for goodwill.
The Good Will Write down 5 possible reasons for the younger person’s actions in the picture. Consider whether the action was good or bad –what are you using to formulate your judgement?
A moral decision is not based on a feeling of what is right, or the reward that might be given for doing right, it is based on duty. Acting on goodwill leads us to do our moral duty purely because it is our moral duty.
A shopkeeper who gives the right change to his customers because it is good for returning business is acting in a morally wrong way because he is not acting out of duty. If he had acted out of moral duty, giving customers the right change because that it is the right thing to do, then his action would be morally acceptable according to Kant.
Or what if… You help an old person carry their shopping across the street. You may have done this because : 1.you felt pity and compassion for the old person 2. the people around you would think good things about you for doing it 3. you would feel better if you helped and didn’t walk on by 4.your parents would be disappointed in you if you didn’t help. According to Kant all of these reasons are not acceptable and do not make the action a moral act because you should help the old person across the road because you have a sense of duty to help the elderly in society.
Motive Motive is very important in Kantian ethics. It means your action can have negative consequences but still be considered a moral act. For example, if you stop to help someone who has been knocked down by a car in the street and by helping them you accidentally kill them, your action would still be considered a moral act because you tried to help because you felt it was your duty to do so.
What is it our moral duty to do? Kant argued that moral actions are not dependant on circumstances. For example, we must always care for our children. This is not dependant on circumstances or particular situations, it is always right and is what Kant called a categorical imperative.
Categorical imperatives Catergorical here means applicable in all situations, an absolute. Imperative means something that must be done, an obligation. In other words, a moral decision that you make must be made because you think it would be good for everyone to do. Are there some things that are absolute rights? Can you think of some examples ?
Absolute rights? Consider others Care for the elderly Protect children
Kant said … ‘ Act as if the maxim from which you were to act were to become through your will a general law’ This has become known as universalisation, which means a rule should apply to everyone.
‘Principle of Universalisability’ The right rules to follow are those which can be applied to all people. That is, can a rule be universalised or not? Would it make sense for others to act in this way?
Living by universalisation would prevent anyone wanting to do anything that they would not want everyone else to do. Does this sound familiar? It’s a bit like… Treat others as you would like to be treated
Treat People as ends in themselves In other words treat others with the respect that as thinking beings, they deserve. Do not use people ! I am only your friend because I fancy your sister! “You’re my best friend – you can come for tea!”
Respect for people As well as this, Kant wrote that people should be respected and ‘ends’ in themselves, never used as ‘means to ends’. Kant believed there was something that separates human and non- human beings: the ability to understand and use the concepts of duty and reason. To Kant, ‘animals’ are dominated by instinct and desire, their behaviour shaped by these compulsions. For example…
They have sex
Kant, of course, accepted that human beings are no different to animals in that we share their instincts and desires.
And when its all over we sleep
However to Kant, what separates humans from non-humans is our ability to REASON. According to Kant it is this faculty that enables us to act freely against our instincts and desires if we so choose.
Problems with Duty and Reason Can there be such a thing as pure reason, and if there is, can we apply it to moral-decision making? How do we agree on what ‘ought’ to be done in a given situation? Do we share the same concept of ‘duty’ universally? If not how can we agree on what ‘ought’ to be done?
Problems with Duty and Reason Can we really apply clear reason in the real world? Surely consequences do matter… Can we really apply a moral rule like not killing others to every situation?
Suppose one evening you hear a knock on the door. You answer and a woman is standing there looking scared. She tells you she is on the run from a man who is trying to kill her and asks for you to help hide her. What is the correct decision according to Kant? Why? What problems does this raise ?
In this case the fundamental principle is whether you should help someone who is in need. Kant would have felt that this was a right thing to do. Using reason you could argue that helping someone who is in need is something everyone ought to do (a duty). It is also universalisable as everyone should do it.
A few minutes later you hear a knock on the door. A man is standing there with an axe in his hand. He appears to be very angry, shows you a picture of the woman you have just hidden and asks you if you have seen her. What is the correct decision according to Kant? Why? What problems does this raise?
In this case the fundamental principle is whether you should lie. Kant would have felt that this was the wrong thing to do. Using reason you could argue that lying should not be allowed. If I lie I am saying the everyone else has a duty to lie also. This is not universalisable.
Is morality really as simple as Kant makes out? Is making moral decisions really this simple? Does Kant’s straightforward formula work in our complicated world? For example, if it is right to always tell the truth and always protect your friends, what do you do if a murderer asks you to tell them where your best friend is so they can murder them? Do you tell the truth and lead the murderer to your friend or do you tell a lie and protect your friend’s life?
Can everyone really agree on what is absolutely right and wrong, what is our duty as humans, all the time? What if someone believes it is our duty to never get involved in violence and someone else believes it is our duty to fight for our human rights? How do we work out the categorical imperative here?
Can we really not help someone because we feel compassion for them? Is there really something wrong with helping an old person carry their shopping because we are compassionate?
Can we really not take consequences into account? What if someone really believes they are doing the right thing while causing harm to others? What if your little sister dried your dog in the tumble dryer? Is it ok because she meant well? Is motive really the only thing that is important?
Christianity on Kant’s Duty and Reason There is also an emphasis on duty in Christianity. Clear guiding principles exist within the Bible especially the teaching of Jesus. ‘To love one another’ sounds like a universalisable principle and therefore the categorical imperative.
Christianity on Kant’s Duty and Reason However these principles require interpretation, meaning that to keep one you have to ignore another. For example: Christians think you ought to protect the weak and you ought to preserve life. These principles may become contradictory depending on the situation
Viewpoints Independent of Religious Belief on Kant’s Duty and Reason Humanists argue that we have a duty to others and our common humanity should trigger how we relate to one another. For example, to ‘Treat every human being as equal’ is something we ought to do. However, this is because to a Humanist certain basic human actions are right in themselves, they need no justification. To Humanists, ‘responsibilities’ go hand in hand with ‘rights’.
Moral scenarios Would Kant think this was morally acceptable? Do you agree with Kant? Give two reasons for your answer YESNO Tom gives 10% of his earnings each year to charity because his religion says he should. Gail was out shopping one day and noticed a person stuffing a bottle of perfume into her bag. She tells the security guard. Gareth’s granny is very old and frail. He believes it is his duty to care for her but his wife says she will leave him if his granny comes to live with them. He invites his granny to stay anyway.
Quick recap - copy Kant argued that rational duty was behind ethics and morals. Good = goodwill = duty. Catergorical means applicable in all situations, an absolute. Imperative means something that must be done, an obligation. Universalisation according to Kant is that a rule should apply to everyone.
1.Who is Immanuel Kant?1KU 2.Explain Kant’s theory on ethics. Give two examples to support your answer.6KU 3.Explain in your own words Kant’s term ‘categorical imperative’.2KU 4.What does Kant mean when he says we should decide our moral actions based on having the ability to universalise moral law?3KU 5.Outline two arguments against Kant’s theory of rational.4AE 6.What are your views on Kant’s theory for ethics?3AE Learning check…