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Moral Theory of Kant

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  • April 3, 2013
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Kant’s Moral Theory

Immanuel Kant is a German deontologist in the eighteenth century. He believed that the only test of whether a decision is right or wrong is whether it could be applied to everyone. Would it be all right for everyone to do what you are doing? If not, your decision is wrong. Kant sees that people ought not to be used, but ought to be regarded as having the highest intrinsic value. From here, I see that Kant believes that the intrinsic value of an act determines what is morally right or morally wrong. The intrinsic value always accompanies the act, for example, if A is intrinsic to B, then it is no accident that B exhibits A. In ethics, Kant tried to show that doing one's duty consisted in following only those principles that one would accept as applying equally to all. Kant brought up that the consequences of our acts are not always in our control and things do not always turn out as we want. However, he believed that we can control our motives, and the motive to do what is right gives an act its moral worth. For actions to have moral worth, good will and good act in accordance with duty are required. Kant believed that the good will is the right motive. Good will is to will your maxim to be a universal law or universally valid and accepted. Having a right intention is to do what is right or what one believes to be right just because it is right. Kant believed that acts done from the motive of duty are the only ones with moral worth. For example, you borrow money from a friend, and your options, or maxims, are to either return the money, or not to return the money. To return money is of good will, and if you choose this to be your maxim, you are in accordance with duty. Not to return money, if put into a universal law, nobody ever returned the money, and everybody broke their promises, there would be no promises, and the act is not in accordance with duty. So the act of not returning the money has no moral worth...