Kant 's Theory Of Non Consequentialism Essay

Kant 's Theory Of Non Consequentialism Essay

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Kant opens up Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals by saying, “Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good without qualification, except a good will,” and it is with this sentence that he introduces his idea of non-consequentialism (p. 151). Non-consequentialism can be described as a philosophical theory that states that the morality of our behaviour does not depend on the consequences of our actions, but instead depends on the intent with which we perform these actions. With this piece of writing, Kant attempts to delve deeper into the principles of human morality, discover what makes an action right or wrong, and determine the correct motives for performing any action.
In simple terms, Kant’s theory of non-consequentialism means that no matter what happens because of your actions, as long as you perform said actions with good will or intention, then those actions can be considered moral. Kant goes on to clarify that, “A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects, not by its aptness for the attainment of some proposed end, but simply by virtue of the volition” (p. 152). By this, he means that a good will is not made good by the thing it accomplishes in the end, but instead by the motivation for performing that action. He gives the example of someone who loves to help people and receives great pleasure from it. Now, to most this may seem like a perfectly good reason to do something for someone. However, Kant argues that if the morality of an action depends upon the intention of that action, then doing something for someone else because it will make you happy is not the right reason to do something. Kant argues this because he believes that people sho...


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...e end of the day, then either they’re both wrong, or they’re both right. If they’re both wrong, then there can be no exceptions made to the rule of murder and thus it cannot be universalized. If they’re both right, then we will have to make exceptions for all kinds of behavior. If murder can’t be considered immoral, than everything is on the table and all bets are off.
So although Kant’s theory of non-consequentialism was a very significant philosophical concept, it is not without its flaws. His theories on morality have shaped philosophical thought and many other disciplines since he first wrote them down, but they also leave much to be desired. It is difficult to believe in a universalized set of moral codes that is based on the idea that the consequences of our actions mean absolutely nothing and that morality depends on the personal motivations of the individual.

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