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What does duty mean?

Being responsible, taking care, moral obligation, a task in action


Why is Kantian ethics deontological?

Deontological where the rights takes precedence over the good. Absolutist moral theory because values to be followed at all times under any circumstances


How reason, autonomy and freedom are central to Kant moral decision making?

Reason: looks at evidence and argument. Attempts to base morality on reason as opposed to feelings
Autonomy and freedom: to act morally then I must be capable of exercising freedom- A CHOICE


What is good will?

Only the will within our control and so the will can be in unconditionally good and exercise pure practical reason. Good will is the only thing that is good without qualification because it has its own value itself.
Heteronomy of the will: lack of freedom


In Kantian ethics what is meant by duty?

Duty makes the ‘good will’ good. Doing your duty for your own sake and not doing it whether you or others benefit from your action. No moral worth is you feel satisfaction. Our duty because it is our duty to do so.
“Duty for duty’s sake”


What are the two conceptions of duty?

1) Duty as following orders
- the Adolp Eichman “Nazi” model
- duty is external
- duty is imposed by others

2) Duty as freely imposing obligation ones one self
- the Kantian model
- duty is internal
- we impose duty on ourselves


What’s Kant basis of using reason to decide moral norms?

Kant argued our senses can be wrong and all a posteriori knowledge is merely a perception based on our senses. Kant believes in a priori knowledge based on reason and logic. Kant’s “ Groundwork of a Metaphysics of Morals” attempts to base morality on reason


Kant summary

- Good will "autonomy"
- Duty- acting in accordance to REASON & UNIVERSAL MORAL LAWS
- Morality principles- "Categorical Imperative"


What is the noumenal realm?

God, Freedom and immortality


What is the phenomenal realm?

"Epistemological spectacles"- Categories of the mind. Shapes how we see the world "APPEARANCE" "WORLD REFLECTED IN OUR MIND"


Rationalism of Kant

Kant is a priori synthetic


Objections of Kant

- Hume: morality is a matter, not of reason but of sentiment and is rooted in desires or feelings "slave to our passions"
- Bentham: "nature has placed us the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure"
- Utility principle: the greatest good for the greatest number
- Joseph Fletcher: agape, selfless love (working our the most selfless compassionate act)


What is Kant categorical imperative?

Following absolute moral rules. In other words an unconditioned moral obligation that is always binding


What is a hypothetical imperative?

An action that is rooted by an aim, goal or desire


What are the 3 formulations of the categorical imperative?

1) Universalisation
2) End not means to an end
3) Kingdom of ends


What is Universalisation?

- Universalisation of maxim using PURE REASON
- Involves imagining a world where everybody must follow the maxim (universal moral laws)
- "Always act in such a way that the maxim of your action can be willed as a univeral law of humanity"
This means if you can't imagine a world full of lying then it isn't moral because it destroys humanity worth


What is end not means to an end?

- " Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means but always at the same time as an end"
- Humans are to be respected: they are not respected if they are treated as a means to some particular end
- Examples:
- telling the truth
- being kind
- not lying


What is the Kingdom of Ends?

- The kingdom of ends is a world in which everyone is treated as an end in themselves, not as a means to an end.
- We decide the laws
- Practical reason applies to everyone... ethical principles are the same for everyone so we all are qualified to figure them out
- You should all realise the important role you play: it is everyone's duty to follow maxims which apply to all people and to treat people how you like to be treated


What are the following examples that illustrate Kant's ethical theory?

1) A calculating shopkeeper
2) A killer at your door


What is the calculating shopkeeper example?

- Reputation of honesty by giving the right change for business
- Thinking about 'end' rather the means due to self interest
For Kant no self interest and a meansto an end- be honest


What is the Kant's axe example?

- The killer at the door which your friend says to don't tell where I am but the killer says where is he?
- Kant says telling a lie is wrong even though is can cause more harm than good
- Breaks the universalibility due to lying
- What do we do when the duties overlap? Is it classed as moral?


What is Ross list of seven duties (prima facie duties)?

- Promise keeping
- Reparation of harm done
- Fidelity
- Gratitude
- Beneficence
- Self improvement
- Justice
- Non maleficence


How do these duties deal with the problem of Kantian ethics?

These duties are conditioned and can be outweighed by a more compelling duty. Uses intuition is subjective. Ross offers a middle way between consequentialism and absolutist deontology


Weaknesses of W.D. Ross

- Intuition- too absolute
- Leads to exploitation of rights
- Which prima facie duty to follow?
- It rejects the minority because of the example of father or doctor drowning because if you save the father then the other must die, is isn't fair?


What are Kant's 3 postulates?

Kant argues that for his ethical theory to work, we must make certain assumptions about nature of reality
Postulates are not something he has proven, just something he assumes in order for his reasoning about his ethics to make sense
1) Freedom
2) Immortality
3) God


Explain Freedom for Kant?

Kant argued that in order for morality to exist, we must assume that humans have free will. Kant held that morality requires autonomy. Instead, our actions would have been determined


Explain Immortality for Kant?

To achieve moral perfection. Kant believes is a consequence of our rational nature. Fair to have a life after death because gives justice.


Explain God for Kant?

God is needed for the justice. Some might argue that the universe is unfair so what is reasoning behind having a just God.


What does Kant mean by the summum bonum?

The ulitmate aim of moral of the moral being is to achieve moral perfection (virtue & happiness, intrinsic part of action). Literally ' the highest good'. The summum bonum is the ideal scenario where always doing the right thing brings happiness


Strengths of Kant's theory of ethics

- Kant's morality is very straightforward and based on reason
- There are clear criteria to assess what is moral
- The moral value of an action comes from the action itself
-Kant's categorical imperative gives us rules that apply to everyone and command us to respect human life
- It makes it clear that morality is about doing one's duty and not just following feelings or inclinations
- It aims to treat everyone fairly and justly so corrects the utilitarian assumption that the minority can suffer so long as the majority are happy
- Kant sees humans as being intrinsic worth and dignity as they are rational creatures. Humans can't be enslaved or exploited