Kant Moral Ethics

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 4 (1446 words) Published: November 30, 2005
Immanuel Kant's moral theory can be best explained by comparing it to a math equation. Kant's moral system will always hold true no matter what the circumstance just like how two plus two will always equal four. According to Kant, our lives should be lived according to maxims that can be willed into universal law (Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, p 303). However the action regarding a moral decision is not judged by the consequences of that action, rather by the motive of that action. Kant's the method of moral reasoning starts off by first realizing the principle the rational agent is acting under. To fully understand what this means, a rational agent is to be defined as an entity who is capable of making rational decisions regardless of their natural inclinations. This condition excludes such examples as, animals, infants, and people in a coma from being considered to be a rational agent because they do not show the capacity to reason. After realizing the principle the person is acting under, determine if the reason is morally right. In order to determine if the maxim is ethical and able to be willed into universal law, it must pass three tests: autonomy, respect for humanity, and the kingdom of ends. Autonomy describes the feeling of accomplishment. This can be illustrated as a man who promises his wife that he will take off the weekend from golfing and file their tax reports. By keeping his promise to his wife he not only feels the satisfaction from finishing their tax report but also, more importantly feels good about following through with his promise. Autonomy is important because if the husband breaks his promises and lives his life as a promise breaker then this maxim is clearly self-defeating. The entire maxim of promising to break promises does not pass the test of autonomy therefore could never be passed as a universal law. However, if after passing the autonomy test, then a principle must also respect everyone...
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