Explain Kants Theory of Ethics

Topics: Morality, Immanuel Kant, Ethics Pages: 4 (1567 words) Published: December 12, 2012
A: Explain Kant’s theory of ethics
Kant was born in 1724-1804, he was a German thinker from East Prussia (now Russia), and he spent his whole life in his hometown. Kant wanted to create a logical, stand-alone theory that wasn’t just based on assumptions, he believed in an objective right or wrong that is decided on reason and that we shouldn’t do the right thing just because it’s right and not to fulfil our desires. Can we lead a life following his ideals are there not some situations where a perfect moral decision cannot be made, are all our choices fuelled by personal gain and desire? He has a deontological and absolute approach to ethics, to Kant what makes an action good is when you do your ‘duty’ and that one’s duty is to always flow the moral law. We should not act out of love or compassion. The motive is what makes an action good –nothing else! The consequences to Kant are meaningless it’s the act itself that needs to be right an example of his thinking would be its immoral to kill 1 man in order to save 10. For Kant the fact that we ‘ought’ to do something implies that it is possible to do it. Thus moral statements are prescriptive: they prescribe an action. Ought implies can, ‘if I ought to do X’, it means ‘I can do X’. Kant also believed that moral statements are a priori (knowable prior to experience) and synthetic, that they can be verified by our empirical evidence so are either true or false. Kant put forward the idea of two imperatives the hypothetical imperative, these are not moral commands and they don’t apply to everyone. In Kant’s eyes you only need to obey them if you want to achieve a certain goal. An example of this would be that Kant observed that the word ‘ought’ is often used none morally, for example ‘if you want to become a better artist or guitarist, you ought to practice’. On the other hand Kant also proposed the Categorical Imperative, these are moral commands that can be universalised and do not depend on anything else. Whereas...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about Ethics and Kant
  • The Kant Theory of Moral and Ethics Essay
  • Explain Kants Ethical theories Essay
  • Kant Ethics Essay
  • Kant Moral Law Theory Essay
  • Ethics Kant vs Mill Essay
  • Deontology: Ethics and Kant Essay
  • Explain the theory of Virtue Ethics Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free