This means that our actions are conscious driven and that our intentions are bounded in rationality to fulfill one’s duty. For Kant, morality should be necessary and universal (Kant, 2005: 49) He provides that actions must be universal and be based on a set of moral rules in order for them to be classified as moral or immoral. Reason is a main component of Kant’s argument of morality. Kant’s view of morality is premised on the notion of “good will,” which ultimately ensures that an act complies with moral principles (Kant, 2005: 18). An act will be deemed good depending on the motive or intention behind the act.
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.
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.
When he defines these moral rules, he characterizes them in the form of imperatives – the hypothetical imperative and categorical imperative. While hypothetical imperatives deal with motivations and actions that lead to a particular end, categorical imperatives are a product of rational behavior in human beings. Kant considers such categorical imperatives to be the moral basis for life. As a result, when a person who is “cold and indifferent to the sufferings of others’ does an action that elicits a positive response from someone by helping them, he is more morally worthy according to Kant. Such a person does this action even when he does not want or feel like doing that action.
What makes actions right? For some philosophers it is their consequences, like the pleasure or happiness that they produce. However for a deontologist like Immanuel Kant, rightness is the action itself and the obligation to perform it. His ethics is a theory of how a person should act, the actual action and morality of the action. It entails that as long as a person acts in a moral way then the consequences of the actions do not matter.
In fact, parts of the theory even say that it is one's moral duty to act on these universalizable maxims, and that people should only act on those maxims that can be universalized. The stability of Kant's theory rests not only on the fact that it is completely objective-- every action is definitely either morally permissible or not-- but also on the fact that the theory is non-consequentialist. Kant truly does not look to the consequences of an action to see whether the action is morally permissible, but rather to the morality of the action itself. Kant assumes that universal morality is inherent in being, thus avoiding complications in trying to determine which actions lead to better consequences. However, Kant does not speak of perfect and imperfect moral duties, those duties that respectively do or do not involve qualifications as to the particulars of the situation at hand, thus complicating the issue.
Morality is central to all rational beings, whereby a moral action is one determined by reason, rather than our personal desires as suggested by Kant (1785) in contrast to Hume. (1738). Furthermore, Kant suggests that an action is moral only on account of its being reasoned, therefore the moral worth of an action is determined by its motives and not by its consequences. Exploring the works of Hume (1738) and Kant(1785) on morality and ethics, we will ask the question whether we should do what is morally right, even when you could profit by doing something wrong, and furthermore, we shall discuss morality as a type of game, yet something you cannot opt out of, as something Foot describes as 'inescapable'. (Foot 1972: 311).
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.
Therefore, Kant believes that duty is derived from the CI and that the CI is the fundamental method of morality. • The humanity formula is based on the idea of respect. Kant believes that with the other formulas the CI is perceived as intuition rather than the Universal Law formula. The humanity formula indicates that using others, as a means to our ends does not apply, this would be absurd in pursuing our goals. The humanity in us should be treated as an end in itself.
A maxim is the generalized rule that characterizes the motives for a person’s actions. For Kant, a will that is good is one that is acting by the maxim of doing the right thing because it is right thing to do. The moral worth of an action is determined by whether or not it was acted upon out of respect for the moral law, or the Categorical Imperative. Imperatives in general imply something we ought to do however there is a distinction between categorical imperatives and hypothetical imperatives. Hypothetical imperatives are obligatory so long as we desire X.