On the other hand and in contrast, “a priori” concepts are ideas we reach as an end point of reasoning prior to or apart from any experience of how things occur in the world. Kant then claims that moral actions are supposed done for the reason of morality alone. This train of thought leads to the conclusion that an understanding of morality must be based on “a priori” concepts of reason. Truly moral ideas are then universally valid if and only if they are based on “a priori” concepts. From this idea of “a priori” concepts, Kant begins his thesis with the notion that the only thing in the world that is a qualified good is the “good will”, even if its efforts bring about a not necessarily good result.
So, we need to look at one’s reason for doing an action to determine if it is a duty. If the reason for performing the action is justified, then the action is a duty. However, Kant says there are two different types of reasons for performing an action. Kant calls these reasons ‘imperatives.’ The first reason for performing an action, the hypothetical imperative, is based on consequences and on our personal preferences. They are also contingent, meaning that they can be good or bad depending on how they are used.
This essay will explain that I am in agreement with Kant’s theory of action to be moral when it is carried out from duty. First, what Kant means when he explains that an action is moral, it is when you actively use reason to choose and determine how to act in a given situation; what makes the action moral is the fact that you use reason based on your thoughts of what is right and no one else’s, nor subjected into any emotional appeal or instinct. To go along with that definition, Kant defines duty as an action that is freely chosen and genuine to satisfy a moral law, which, if this is true to the person, is thus acted out and motivated by a good will. Based on this understanding of “duty” and “moral laws,” I will then argue the oppositions of making decisions with emotions versus using rationality, the value of intentions behind a performed action, and Now that I have laid out the Kantian definitions of “duty” and “moral actions,” I can further discuss Kant’s view in ethics more specifically. Kant expresses ethics differently than utilitarianism, as he displaces the importance of emotions in decision-making; however, he does mention the presence of emotions and feelings without disregarding their existence.
Therefore, actions are only moral if the action could be described as a universal law, known as a categorical imperative. A maxim according to Kant is to act in a way that we would will the action to be a universal law, as opposed to the hypothetical imperative which demands that we act to achieve a certain ends. (Kant in Signer 1994). Therefore, we to act morally good, we sho... ... middle of paper ... ...nature and is a game we play, yet it has its own rules that we must abide by if we are to exist in a society. So why do what's morally right?
The categorical imperative is based on the single notion that one should act only on maxims that can reasonably and without contradiction be made a universal law. As such, it does not consider the details of circumstance and holds true universally, because it relies solely on a priori concepts. I will further explain Kant’s formulations of this imperative momentarily. Now that we have just seen the first type of imperative,... ... middle of paper ... ...aw. Kant rewrites this concept of universalizing maxims to determine duty in a second formulation that, while tests actions differently, he believes leads to the same moral conclusions.
Hypothetical imperatives are actions that look for the best means to a goal, however, the goal might not necessarily be an end in itself. On the other hand, the categorical imperative is an objectively necessary means to an end in itself, and the action to obtain the end, must have moral worth. If we as rational agents, have any morality at all Kant says, it takes the form of rational, categorical imperatives (commands of reason) and is found a priori excluding all interests and desires. These commands of reason are proven by the Universal Law Formula, which when applied, is a method for determining the morality of actions. How is this formula applied though?
Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral you might as well not make the promise. You must follow a certain code in order to find truth behind your actions. Kant believed that you should treat everyone with value, dignity, and respect. Our reasoning ability will always allow us to know what our duty is. Kant described two types of common commands given by reason: the hypothetical imperative, which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end; and the categorical imperative, which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity.
The former represented the practical necessity of a possible action as means for attaining something else that one wants (or possibly want). The categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as necessary in itself, without reference to another end” (Kant 228). By saying these, Kant tells us... ... middle of paper ... ... unreasonable. While the motivation is a combination of actor's will, hobby, interest, emotion, faith and ideal. In Grounding for the metaphysics of morals, Kant thinks the motivations of hobby and interest are stem from anticipation to the achievement without any motivation of obligation, where only will and faith left.
As rational beings we are expected to act and behave accordingly for the sake of the moral good, but with practical reason. This then results in universal morality according to Kant. This was all defined under Kant’s categorical imperative. These imperatives are things that one “ought” to do according to Kant. Kant believed that following ones duty was not measurable by the end means, yet it “is good only through its willing”.
Kant's theory can be categorized as a deonotological because "actions are not assessed to be morally permissible on the basis of consequences they produce, but rather on the form of the agent's will in acting," (Dodds, Lecture 7) therefore his actions are based on duty and not consequential. Kantianism is based on three principles: maxims, willing, and the categorical imperative. Kant states that a maxim is a "general rule or principle which will explain what a person takes himself to be doing and the circumstances in which he takes himself to be doing it" (Feldman, 1999, 201). It is important that this principle be universalisable and that the maxim can be applied consistently to everyone that encounters similar situations, therefore willed as a universal law. The second aspect of Kant's theory is willing.