Kant's Ethics

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Kant’s ethics focuses on the metaphysics of morals, that is, beyond the physical. By this he determines the only way in which one can acknowledge them is to make assumptions. Since they are beyond the physical realm, they will not be seen or heard, therefore certain aspects need to be assumed. This theory is ground in comparison to his earlier work, the fundamental metaphysics of knowledge. He argues in that text, in order to have natural laws that apply to everything, beyond the physical, one must make certain assumptions. For this he proclaims that we must assume that there is such a thing as cause and effect. But he also points out, that we must always recognize that we could be wrong. His argument on the metaphysics of knowledge helps to frame his similar argument on the metaphysics of morals.

Kant argues that there is only one thing in the world that is always good; a good will. In support of this claim, Kant explains that, though very commonly believed to be, neither intelligence nor a cool, calm demeanor is entirely good. Intelligence is good, but it depends on who has the intelligence. Surely the intelligent Nazi or terrorist will not be considered morally sound. Therefore morality cannot be determined by intelligence. Neither can it be determined by a calm demeanor. As argued in the lecture, the coolness of a villain can make them morally worse. So for Kant, only a good will is truly good. He also criticizes utilitarianism in his theory by stating, a good will is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes. Effects can be brought on my luck, luck is not morality. Rather a good will is determined by discerning between 3 types of actions. Actions against duty, which really isn’t good will at all, it’s quite the opposite; Actions in accordance with duty; and actions from duty.

Kant Argues that actions in accordance with duty result in one doing the right thing, but not because it is right, rather to suit one’s inclinations. And actions from...
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