(Foot 1972: 311). Morality and its standards are often assumed to be 'intrinsically' motivating, and this is how they regulate society's behaviour. (Prinz in Batson 2011:41). Yet Batson suggests rather than intrinsically motivating, we conform to the principles to avoid social and self-rewards, where we are viewed as morally good. Morality for Kant is determined by whether certain moral actions could be turned into a universal maxim.
Kant also believes that an action is right or wrong based solely on the reason by which it was performed. However, a Utilitarian, like John Mill, would reject Kant’s reasoning of originating good characters out of actions alone, and instead argue that if an action has bad consequences, then the action was morally wrong. Kant believes that an action has moral worth only if it is done out of respect for our moral code. He names this moral action a ‘duty.’ Kant also believes that in determining the moral worth of an action, we need to look at the maxim by which it was performed. So, we need to look at one’s reason for doing an action to determine if it is a duty.
Kant also... ... middle of paper ... ...r act of duty needs to be performed in the current circumstance, to call the judgment moral. It is logical to understand the inconsistencies and rash effects of making an emotional or instinctual decision. Kant is also very clear when he distinguishes that even good, considerably noble actions may not be in fact moral, as well as actions that are good but with ill or wrong intentions may not be moral as well, because of the absence of the consideration of one’s duty in the decision-making process. Kant provides a very specific and consistent theory of morality, as well as providing arguments for every kind of situation presented to him. He finds no value in complexity, which is why it is easier for me to understand the simple, concise, and rational thought-process behind Kant and his theory.
Immanuel Kant's Theory Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) discussed many ethical systems and reasoning’s some were based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality. In Kant’s eyes, reason is directly correlated with morals and ideals. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for appropriateness or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. A moral act is an act done for the "right" reasons. Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral you might as well not make the promise.
How can Ethics Compel us to do Good? In Critique of Practical Reason, Immanuel Kant attempts to establish a valid basis for ethics. Specifically, he wants to develop an ethical system that has compelling power. He views the traditional, happiness-based ethics as insufficient because they lack compelling power, meaning that they do not have the power to curtail our actions. His solution is that people should be guided by the moral law, which can be discovered by pure reason alone, and which says that any action should be judged by whether or not it could serve as a principle in a universal law.
Kant proposes a test that ensures that humanity is treated with respect, and not used merely as an instrument. To understand how he defines this test, we must first take a look at the foundation of his main principle, the Categorical Imperative. Kant’s way of determining morality of actions is quite different from other philosophers, and many find it extremely hard to grasp or implausible. The central concept of his basic test for morality found in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is the categorical imperative. “The representation of an objective principle, insofar as it is necessitating for a will, is called a command (of reason), and the formula of the command is called an imperative”(Kant, 24).
Mill holds an empiricist theory while Kant holds a rationalist theory. Kant grounds morality in forms that he believes, are necessary to free and rational practical judgment, namely his deontological ethics. Mill?s utilitarian theory is a form of consequentialism because the rightness or wrongness of an act is determined by the consequences. Thus, deontologicalism and consequentialism are the main criticisms for both these theories. Kant?s ethics of pure duty is the basis for his categorical imperative, which provides the basis for his universalist duty based theory.
However, reason for Kant is objective and prescribes universal and necessary laws and duties. It is the authority of reason that justifies moral principles. According to Kant, what makes a good person is a good will in which decisions are fully determined by moral demands or as he often refers to this, by the Moral Law. Humans see this law as somewhat of a constraint on their desires, which is why a will that is decided by the Moral Law is motivated by the thought of duty. Despite being good, a divine will would in actuality not be morally good due to the fact that it would be motivated by thoughts of duty.
Deontologists create concrete distinctions between what is moral right and wrong and use their morals as a guide when making choices. Deontologists generate restrictions against maximizing the good when it interferes with moral standards. Also, since deontologists place a high value on the individual, in some instances it is permissible not to maximize the good when it is detrimental to yourself. For example, one does not need to impoverish oneself to the point of worthlessness simply to satisfy one’s moral obligations. Deontology can be looked at as a generally flexible moral theory that allows for self-interpretation but like all others theories studied thus far, there are arguments one can make against its reasoning.
(1) It holds that is always instrumentally rational for one to further her own interests and in that certain situations (exemplified by the prisoners dilemma) it is more rational to forego one's own interests (providing others do so also) than to behave in a straight-forwardly rational way. The rules allowing one to escape prisoner's dilemmas—the rules it is rational to accept providing all others accept them also—are simply the rules of morality. Hence it is rational to be moral. (2) Plato agrees that rationality requires self-interested action. However, he distinguishes between perceived self-interest and actual self-interest and argues that any apparent conflict between rationality and morality is simply a conflict between one's perceived self-interest and the requirements of justice.