Phil 3033

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Kantian’s moral theory
Right reason(Done from the good will)| Right act (passes the C.I)| Status| Yes| Yes| Morally right (AFD)|
No| No| Morally wrong |
No| Yes| No moral content (ACWD)|
Yes| No| IMPOSSIBLE|

The good will
Kant’s moral theory begins from the starting point of the good will. In assessing the moral worth on an action we must focus not on the consequences of results of the action, but on the agent’s will ( the motivation of conducting an action is really important). What is good will?

According to Kant, the good will is the only thing that is good in itself. “Talents of the mind” (eg. Intelligence), “qualities of temperament” (eg. Courage), and “gifts of fortune” (eg. Power) could be used for either good or ill and thus cannot be said to be good in themselves (there is only the good will that is good in itself; but for Mill, it is the happiness that is the ultimate good). To act from the good will is to act from the motive to do the right thing alone- regardless of any desires, wishes, expectations, or other concerns. To act from the good will is to act from the motive of duty. Even if one performs what looks like a good act (eg. Being honest to customers), unless one performs that act from the motive of duty, it has no moral worth. It is without moral content. Kant distinguishes between Acting in Conformity with Duty (ACWD) and Acting from Duty (AFD). For an action to be morally right on Kant’s view it must be the right act done for the right reason. How do we determine what the right acts are?

Hypothetical vs categorical imperatives
Hypothetical imperatives are imperatives that are binding on us in virtue of some want or desire we have. If morality were derived from these things, the moral demands would depend upon humans having certain desires. Categorical imperatives are binding on us regardless of our wants or desires. They are binding on us absolutely- because we are rational beings. The categorical...
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