Kant S Ethics Essay, Research Paper
Kant s Ethics
In the Metaphysics of Ethics (1797) Kant described his ethical system, which is based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for expediency
or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. Kant described two types of commands given by reason. The first was 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 categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant as “Act as if the maxim of your action were to
become through your will a general natural law.”
Kant s broke his rule based ethics down into two parts. The first being hypotheticalimperative reason. It is a method in which we try to attainan end such as happiness. The hypothetical imperative includes the ability to lie under certain circumstances when it is prudent.
The hypothetical imperative also exerts heteronomy of the will, in that the will is following desire which is dictating to the will what to do. The categorical imperative requires the autonomy of the
will, as the categorical imperative requires that we make choices to follow universal laws, and that
we are not doing something because we will get something else from it.
Kant emphasizes the importance of rationality in being moral by calling moral beings “rational beings.” To find what is moral through the categorical imperative requires reason and logic and for the consequences of an action for be thoroughly thought through. This requires that
a rational being have a certain set of similar characteristics. A rational being must firstly be rational, logical, and objective, not led about by desire and moral feeling. He must also be introspective in order that he recognize that an act must be thought through to determine whether
or not it is moral. This requires a certain degree of hyper- consciousness. Intuition is also a requirement of the rational being, as he must be able to make connections. It also requires that the rational being try to be objective and consider many possible courses of actions. Finally, a rational
being must have a certain degree of high intelligence in order for what he reasons to be moral, correct, and veridical. To be a rational being requires not only the innate ability to be rational, introspective/hyper-conscious, andintuitive, but it requires a certain degree of intellectual and psychological intelligence that allows the individual to make use of the above qualities by being able to make connections and to relate.
As humans I think we have a hard time living up to the moral demands of Kant s philosophy. Kant says we have to live by duty and respect of laws that lead to universality. Kant says, we have to use this rule system of categorical imperative to keep order in society. If we use just one set of rules and ethics humans are not fighting over what rules are right or wrong.
According to Kant we have a duty, or commitment to each rule we make up. Categorical imperative are rules for rules, and to follow these rules Kant gives us three guidelines duty, respect, and universality. We has humans have a duty, or commitment to each rule. Each rule must be respected, and never use any person as a mean of an end. Universality ask can the rule be
followed or applied. Kant says, any rule that does not apply for everyone can not follow this set of
rules for making up rules for society.
Many times humans follow the hypothetical imperative. This allows us as humans to lie under this method of reasoning when needed. Many times this leads into what Kant called the slippery slope. Once you lie and bend the rule once it makes it OK to do it again. This forms a
step method after bending one rule and then stepping down and bending another rule. Kant s philosophy is important even though many humans cannot follow it. Most times we all end up on the slippery slope bending the truth as needed. This is why we can not follow Kant s philosophy because we fall out of the three guidelines. The guidelines are important to keep society in line
with the rules, but has humans we are not perfect and many times fall far from Kant s philosophy.