Kant and Deontological Theory

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Kant and Deontological Theory

Immanuel Kant was a moral philosopher. His theory, better known as deontological theory, holds that intent, reason, rationality, and good will are motivating factors in the ethical decision making process. The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain major elements of his theory, its essential points, how it is used in the decision making process, and how it intersects with the teams values.

While Kant’s theory may seem “overly optimistic” (Johnson, 2008) now, it was ruled as acceptable and rational behavior then. Kant believed that any moral or ethical decision could be achieved with consistent behavior. While judgment was based on reason, morals were based on rational choices made by human beings (Freeman, 2000). A human’s brain is the most advanced in the animal kingdom. Not only do human beings work on instinct, but they have the ability to sort out situations in order to make a decision. This includes weighing the pros and cons of decisions that could be made and how they affect others either positively or negatively. This is called rational thought. Kant believed that any human being able to rationalize a decision before it was made had the ability to be a morally just person (Freeman, 2000). There were certain things that made the decision moral, and he called it the “Categorical Imperative” (Johnson, 2008). If someone was immoral they violated this CI and were considered irrational. The CI is said to be an automatic response which was part of Kant’s argument that all people were deserving of respect. This automatic response to rational thinking is where he is considered, now, to be “overly optimistic” (Johnson, 2008).

The intelligence and other talents of the mind are...

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...ecision making process that takes place when ethical dilemmas arise, but that it also seems refreshing as it takes us back to a time when society knew right from wrong and chose right. However, we also feel that beings capable of reason do not, as a whole, follow inherent duties. They are not always subject to imperatives which push them to act in the correct manner regardless of personal gain, or in the appropriate manner for personal gain.


Kant on the good will. (2008). Retrieved on April 19, 2009 from

http://philosophy.tamu.edu/~gary/intro/paper.kant.goodwill.html website.

Freeman, Stephen J. (2000). Ethics an introduction to philosophy and practice. Belmont, CA:

Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Johnson, R. (2008). Kant’s moral philosophy. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from


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