Essay on Kant 's Philosophy On Lying

Essay on Kant 's Philosophy On Lying

Length: 1433 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Immanuel Kant is a firm believer in the ideology that morality is solely based on duty and reason alone. This simply way of thinking is known as a deontological moral theory, which states that “the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfill our [mankind’s] duty” (“Kantian Ethics”). Based on his theory and throughout a significant number of his writings, Kant argues that it is not okay to lie. If Kant’s theory is correct, then no one could ever lie, not even to protect a friend from serious harm. However, it is obvious that the practical function of morality would allow an individual to lie in order to protect someone’s life from malevolent encounters. Thus, Kant’s ideology is false in claiming that it is universally immoral to lie. Throughout this paper I will disclose Kant’s philosophy on lying through explanation of his moral theory, reveal underlying problems with the categorical imperative, provide reasons as to why the categorical imperative cannot be applied universally, and support why a lie is morally permissible when its intent is to avert evil circumstances.
Throughout his book Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant makes claim that moral laws are based on pure, or a priori, duty and rational reasoning alone. By claiming that laws are a priori, Kant suggests that morality must be derived without any reference to empirical judgments (Jankowiak). Additionally, Kant states that all moral laws must be applied universally. In order to determine if actions are morally acceptable and universally applicable, Kant formulates the categorical imperative, which consists of two forms. His first formulation, which is commonly referred to as the Formula of Universal La...

... middle of paper ...

...rinciple by a German philosopher [Kant], who goes so far as to affirm that to tell a falsehood to a murderer who ask[s] us whether our friend, of whom he was in pursuit, had not taken refuge in our house, would be a crime (qtd in Close).
In his reply, Kant states that one’s moral duty would in fact be to tell the truth to the murderer (Close). However, the practical function of morality would contend that it would be okay for an individual to lie to a murderer to save a friend. Based on this notion, it becomes apparent that Kant’s categorical imperative cannot be applied universally and with absolute necessity because there are circumstances in which it is permissible to fabricate the truth. Kant’s moral philosophy is rather straightforward, so it is difficult to apply his theories to the complexity of everyday interactions, especially in the face of heinous motives.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Kant 's Views On Lying

- Immanuel Kant is steadfast in his belief that before anyone can do anything absolutely moral, they must reason what would occur if every person on Earth did this exact thing, or as he puts it, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 30). This philosophy seems sound, but is actually inherently flawed, as when it comes into conflict with his opinions on lying, it makes both points to be somewhat impossible to live by....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Philosophy, Morality, Ethics]

Better Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

The Morality of Lying in Contrast to the Philosophies of Kant Essay

- The young girl gazes at you helplessly from within the tangled wreckage. You witnessed the crash – a massive truck careened into a minivan as it passed on the highway, killing the driver on impact, and virtually tearing the girl in half. Now she hangs from the car, held together by the seatbelt. Her nervous system critically damaged, she can’t feel much pain, but she knows that her situation is not optimal, to say the least. She is six years old – she probably doesn’t understand the concept of death....   [tags: Philosophy]

Better Essays
2310 words (6.6 pages)

Kant Vs Mill on the Issue of Lying Essay

- Firstly, by looking at the first patient, whether she gets a kidney from her father or a “cadaver kidney” , there will be no difference because she needs a kidney nonetheless. The second patient however, cannot agree to give his kidney away because one of the main reasons is that he’s scared and lacks “the courage to make this donation”9. So right at this point, it can be seen that it would be better if the father didn’t give his kidney away because it wouldn’t cause him any happiness, whereas the daughter has two options to gIn everyday life, whether on a personal base or on a professional base, difficult scenarios, or also known as moral dilemmas, are present....   [tags: Philosophy, Ethics]

Better Essays
1763 words (5 pages)

Essay on Kant 's Moral Philosophy On A Formal Sense

- ... Dianne Feels angered by this as most would but is it moral. On the other hand, Jim did come right out and told Dianne. There is a saving grace hidden underneath this. However, Jim came out and told his wife about the affair which came from a good place; he did not perpetuate the lie, which is an act of good coming from a place of “good” making this action moral. Though it is unclear based on the reading of the Kant section in Sandel’s book I did find some information that assisted. Kant states: “The greatest violation of a human being’s duty to himself regarded merely as a moral being (the humanity in his person) is the contrary of truthfulness, lying....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Philosophy]

Better Essays
864 words (2.5 pages)

Kant And Kant 's Categorical Imperative Essay

- Immanuel Kant was a famous German philosopher (1724-1804). His many philosophical writings influenced large population from all over the world. Even today, his works still form a major point of reference in research carried out in the modern world. His writings had a strong base such that they brought a new dimension in religion, law and history. Although all his writings were popular but Metaphysics of Morals was very influencing. Kant argued that our desires and emotions are categorically imperative, which means that they are conscience driven....   [tags: Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Morality, Philosophy]

Better Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Immanuel Kant And Kant 's Theory

- ... If the maxim passes all three steps, it is morally right. In one of Kant’s examples. He speaks of a man who is “reduced to despair” and wants to kill himself. Kant defines this man’s maxim as the following: “From self-love I adopt it as a principle to shorten my life when its longer duration is likely to bring more evil than satisfaction.” Kant goes on to explain, using logical reasoning the categorical imperative, that in order for this maxim to be right, it would need to hold true in ALL cases....   [tags: Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Morality, Philosophy]

Better Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

Mills and Kant Moral Philosophy Essay

- Another motive for action is when something is done in accordance to duty, and actually wants to do it – this is also called immediate inclination. An example of this principle would be a man who is happily married. However, at the office, there is an attractive new intern that constantly hits on him. He does find the intern to be physically attractive but does not actually desire to be with her. He reflects that he could indeed have an affair with this intern if he wanted to but he wont in a million years because he is extremely happy with his wife....   [tags: marriage, happiness, philosophy]

Better Essays
549 words (1.6 pages)

Kant 's View On Selfish Reasoning Essays

- What is your opinion of Kant 's view on the idea that we only do what is "right" because we are worried about the consequences. I feel for the most part that Kant is correct. Humans are born into a world where the only life they can use to perceive the world is their own. On some unconscious level the only life we truly consider important is our own. Our unconsciousness has a large influence on our actions whether we realize it or not, so it makes sense that so many of our decisions are made purely on selfish reasoning....   [tags: Philosophy, Ethics, Utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant]

Better Essays
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Kant 's Ethical Theory And Ethics Essay

- ... A maxim is a subjective principle that governs actions such as, “I should not lie.” The categorical imperative is the process of universalizing a maxim for every possible situation. If it is possible to will the maxim into a universal law without any contradictions, the maxim satisfies the categorical imperative. Kant states that if a maxim satisfies the categorical imperative, it is an individual’s duty, or obligation, to adhere to the maxim. As an example, the aforementioned maxim, “I should not lie,” can meet the requirements of the categorical imperative, so a person should always tell the truth in any circumstance regardless of the consequences....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Philosophy, Categorical imperative]

Better Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)

Kant's Moral Principles Essay

- Kant's Moral Principles      In the Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals, the author, Immanuel Kant, tries to form a base by rejecting all ethical theories that are connected to consequences, and then focusing on our ethical motivations and actions. Kant wants to derive good characters out of contingently right actions. He believes that everything is contingent (everything can have good or bad worth, depending on how it is used). So he is trying to find the supreme principal of morality in all his reasoning....   [tags: Kant Immanuel Philosophy Morals Essays]

Better Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)