Daniel LemaireDr. Odysseus MakridisEthics21 January 2018Essay 3Immanuel Kant was an 18thcentury philosopher whose work on ethic radiates into modern day moraltheories. Kant’s ideas on moral theorizes differ greatly from that of utilitarianism.Kant’s came up with categorially imperatives to explain his moral theories.
Whileon the other hand Utilitarianism’s moral theorizes are based on the principleof the greatest good for the greatest number. The morality of right and wrongare very unalike within both of these theories. An example of these differencescan be seen in whether slavery is right or wrong. Utilitarianism would allowslavery as long as the majority is benefitting from it; Where Kant’s moraltheory would be against it.Kant’s theory is based off of the use ofcategorical imperative for judgment of morality. Kant explained his ideas oncategorical imperative as “act only according to that maxim whereby you can atthe same time will that it should become a universal law”.(Kant) This is aversion of a commonly held idea that many religions use.
The idea of treatothers how you would like to be treated. A maxim is a reason a person commitsand act.(Kant) Kant is saying that a person can act simply from duty. He theorizesthat everyone has an ulterior motive for their actions, consequently noindividual can act from duty. For something to be valued as morally good it is attainedonly if individuals act from duty.
A good will in itself is the best actionpossible. (Kant) Kant also alleged it is impossible to know if an individual isacting from duty. The alternatives to acting from duty are acting in complianceto duty, and opposite to duty. If one acts contrary to duty, then the person isnot acting in good faith. If the individual acts in compliance to duty, thenthe action is considered right. Acting in accordance to duty is the best anindividual can knowingly achieve.
The only way an action can be consideredgood, is if it follows the principle that if you were actor would this besomething you would want done to yourself in a similar situation. Kant wantedlook at situation from a different perspective. Kant wants us to “Act so as totreat people always as ends in themselves, never as mere means.” The categorialimperative Kant argues is our rational mind that we truly believe when we arethinking sensibly. It comes from our own intelligence. When we are thinkingrationally, and sensibility is gives us freedom to act with good will.Categorial imperatives are commands you must follow, regardless of yourdesires.
Kant believed moral obligations are derived from pure reason. Ourautonomy comes from the fact that it doesn’t matter if you want to be moral ornot. Moral Law is binding on all of us. While Kant liked the idea of religionshaving moral laws that their follow should follow he theorized that you don’tneed religion to know what law is rather because knowing the difference betweenright and wrong is solely based on using our intellect.
Kant explains stating”We’re not mere objects that exist to be used by others. We’re our own ends. Weare rational and autonomous. We have the ability to set our own goals and worktowards them. Unlike animals and other things in the world we haveself-control. We are able to set our own goals and make free choices based ownour rational actions.
As humans we have an inherent moral value which shouldnot be manipulated for our own benefit. Therefore, Things like lying andstealing are not acceptable because if someone is lying to us we no longer haveour autonomy because the decision we make is based off of false information.Kant argued that if one applies his categorical imperative rationally then itwill create a moral truth that is fixed and applicable to all moral beings.