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Immanuel Kant

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Immanuel Kant
-1724-1804
-American ethics are heavily influenced by his works
-was religious, appreciated christian morality
His golden rule
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you
DIFFERENT THAN CHRISTIAN INTERPRETATION
When did Kant develop his ethical system?
During the enlightenment or age of reason/ 17th and 18th century
What are more effective tools than faith for discerning scientific matter?
Reasoning and observation
What type of moral theory did Kant develop?
a moral theory that was grounded in REASON ALONE
What teaching of Aristotle did Kant dispute?
the good life is a happy life
or that the purpose of life is happiness because we wouldnt be able to make decisions leading to suffering
What was the pursuit of the happy life distinct from?
The pursuit of the happy life was distinct from - and quite often opposed to- the pursuit of the MORAL LIFE.
Why is the life of reason not necessarily a happy one?
If nature intended people to be happy, she would not have given them reason or the ability to choose.
Doesn't it seem like people who are
the happiest live the closest to their instincts or animal drives and aren't the ones most miserable the ones who "think too much?"
What is surer than reason in making practical choices?
instinct
Categorial Imperatives
commands that must be followed by everyone in every situation.
or moral rules
Counsels of Prudence
moral guide lines
not concrete rules
Moral rules are different than what?
Aristotle's counsels of prudence
Is happiness always good in itself?
NO! Happiness itself is not always a good thing.
EG: Osama was happy about 9/11.He took pleasure in deeds that were diabolical.
Why does Kant say that happiness is not the moral anchor of the world?
If a person performs a courage act,
that act is good in itself, whether or not it leads to happiness.
What is the only thing that can be regarded as good without qualification?
a good will
what is a good will?
A good will is always good in itself, whether or not it leads to happiness. Eg: Courage = not good without qualifications or Not good in itself. A terrorist is more dangerous if he possesses courage. Intelligence and charisma are only good if they exist in a
person of good will.
when is happiness good?
only when it exists in a person of good will
What virtues are morally neutral?
all of them
courage, intelligence, happiness, wealth, etc
What makes a will good?
Obeying the moral law "for the sake of the moral law itself"
How do we acquire a good will?
A person has a good will if he chooses to obey the moral law for the sake of the moral law itself.
Why be good for no reason?
being good is the right thing to do. We do not choose being good for fear of punishment or for reward. We obey the moral law because we respect it
If I decide to not cheat on my wife because I fear the consequences of being caught is this morally good?
this has no moral value at all
What is morality based on in Kant's opinion?
INTENTIONS
Is the moral playing field level?
yes
Even if someone is more inclined to do their moral duty, everyone is capable of getting there because of free will
Do good consequences make an action good?
no
An action should not be determined good simply because it has good consequences. Just as we have no control over the way we look, we have no control over the consequences of our actions
When is a will good?
When is follows moral law regardless of the consequences.
follows the categorical imperatives
The Formula of Universal Law
an action that is only moral if our reason for performing it could be a reason that everyone else could have.
When do our moral failings occur?
when we try to exempt ourselves from a general rule
example:"I know that adultery is immoral, but this case is different---you don't understand what I have to put up with in my marriage."
The formula of the end in itself
Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.
If I treat someone as an "end," I treat her as intrinsically valuable
valuable—valuable in herself, not for some purpose she might serve. To treat every human being like a human being. a being with reason and a will.
Is any activity between adults morally permissible as long as both adults are consenting?
yes
both must know each other's intentions
Does Kant emphasize the privileged position of human beings in the world?
yes
compatible with Christianity
is any act is morally permissible as long as consenting adults consent to it?
according to Kant
What is reason the source of?
all sound moral principles Any principle of morality that originates outside the will or reason = counterfeit
why is the wisdom contained in the Sacred Scripture necessary for goof and holy living?
that wisdom contained in these books go far beyond reason.
Kant's system does not prepare you for tragedy and suffering- eg. Cancer. you need faith to accept something unexplainable or something like that.
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