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.
This theory judges the morality of an action based on the actions adherence to a set of rules. It is explained as an action is morally right if it is required by duty, and should not conflict with any other action required by another duty. By doing our duty we do what is valuable, this theory focuses on the structure of moral judgment. One should act regardless of your own aims or self-interest. Kant formalism is based on deontology and are united and their opposition to purely oppose the consequentiality moral thinking; some even hold that a morally wrong may have entirely good consequences, and a morally right on entirely bad consequences (Frankena, 1973.
If the world did not have goodwill, then one may argue that no good can exist. Because people would not be willing to do good things unless for their own purposes. Harrison claims that,“A Kantian follower would say that the maxims are important because it gives us all a foundation for the differences between being morally good or bad”. If one can do an action in some sort that can be put into a universal maxim. Therefore, you are acting ethically.
A person’s approval of something makes it morally right; a person’s disapproval of something makes it morally wrong. Cultural Relativism claims that what is morally right and wrong depends on the moral codes of certain cultures. In order for an individual to be moral, he must act in accord with the moral codes of the society to which he belongs. Even though there are great distinctions between these two theories, they both emphasize that moral standard cannot be determined without referring to s... ... middle of paper ... ...t or wrong? 4.
In Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant lays out three propositions about duty. The first is the will is a morally good action if it is done in accordance from duty, as opposed to an action done in accordance with duty. The second proposition is that actions are judged by the "maxim" or principle that was the motivation behind the action. If someone undertakes an action with the only motivation being that of a sense of duty, they are followin... ... middle of paper ... ...viously that you will be more probable to engage and look to engage in more actions that will give you this appeal and instant gratification. This is not an ideal situation because placing a slight neglect to a duty or obligation that you might not find appeal in defeats the purpose of completing all of the obligations set for us to go through with.
Kant argues that human reasoning is limited in its ability to provide an example of true morality. In his essay, he states that what humans perceive as good morals does not necessarily fit the conditions of what can be categorized as universal law of morality. Kant believes that people must hold morality not solely as an idea or set of exceptions but as an absolute idea (Kant 408). This absolute idea should be free of human rationalization in order to create a pure example. He believes this to be the case because within this form of rationalizing what is good from what is wrong there are often cases that stray away from true virtue such as human behavior.
The Moral Permissibility of Lying Missing Works Cited The question of what constitutes morality is often asked by philosophers. One might wonder why morality is so important, or why many of us trouble ourselves over determining which actions are moral actions. Mill has given an account of the driving force behind our questionings of morality. He calls this driving force “Conscience,” and from this “mass of feeling which must be broken through in order to do what violates our standard of right,” we have derived our concept of morality (Mill 496). Some people may practice moral thought more often than others, and some people may give no thought to morality at all.
Also, it focuses on the motivation of actions, has clear and distinct set of universal rules, and is morally logical. On the other hand, Utilitarianism is based on the concept that we ought to do whatever produces the greatest overall utility and this will be the morally right action. Furthermore, it relies on the consequences of an action, has no set universal laws as each action is assessed on an individual basis, and morality is based on the results of the assessment. Because of these reasons, I believe that Kantianism is the more ethically plausible theory of the two.
Deontology According to deontology, people have an obligation that is imposed upon them by the duty to perform certain actions without due consideration on their consequential outcomes, (Braswell, McCarthy & McCarthy, 2011). This explains the instances where it is morally justified to perform a certain action whose pain is greater than the collective pleasures that can be derived from it, (Braswell, McCarthy & McCarthy, 2011). One of the major contributors to the deontological ethical theory is Emmanuel Kant. Deontologists include other ideologies that are inherently lacking among the consequentialist theories, particularly the utilitarianism. These aspects include the duty to act as well as a consideration of the intention to do what is right against what is wrong, (Braswell, McCarthy & McCarthy, 2011).
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.