March 26, 2013
I Do It, We All Do it
The moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant is the most straightforward and solid in foundation of all ethical theories. Kant’s ethics are simple because they have a black and white (right and wrong) format. Many people cling to his thinking because his moral philosophy offers a firm solution to ethical questions, and this firmness removes any uneasiness in the agents mind. The central theme that sums up Kant’s moral reasoning is his categorical imperative, “I am never to act otherwise than so that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law.” (306) By this Kant means that one should never perform an action unless they think that action would also be acceptable for everyone else to perform. Kant is not a relativist, which is someone who thinks that the morality of actions is subject to change based on the situation, but rather is an absolutist, believing each action has a universal morality regardless of the situation or consequences.
This idea that “moral conceptions…cannot be obtained from abstraction of any empirical” (308) furthers Kant’s argument that the morality of actions in universal. Since morality is not something we decide on from experience, it’s existence, as being of a certain ethical morality, remains the same over time in all occurrences of the action. Kant hold’s the belief that an action’s morality is always consistent and is never compromised by the consequences due to the performance of that action. Unlike consequentialists, for Kant the greater good was irrelevant since moral laws are absolute. One of the actions that Kant believed was morally wrong was lying. This means (according to Kant’s ethics) that if a killer came up to you and asked you where your family was so that he could go chop their heads off, you would have a moral duty to tell him the truth. He held the claim that since the killer is his own moral agent, the weight of...
Cited: Pojman, Louis P., and Lewis Vaughn. The Moral Life. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document