Ethics essay – Kantian ethics
a.) Explain Kant’s concept of duty
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who was concerned with producing an ethical theory that was logical and absolute, and did not change depending on the situation, countering the views of John Locke and other empiricists of the time. His ethics are based on duty, rather than looking at the end product of an action. He thought that his theory was so important that it could be rivalled with the Copernican revolution, in that it would utterly change everyone’s concept of morality in the same profound manner. There are two main dictionary definitions of duty, obeying a superior, and obeying the moral law in doing the right thing, and Kant was concerned with the latter. In his book of Critique of Practical Reason he said “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe…the starry heavens above and the moral law within.” The former expresses his belief in God, and the latter presented his views on objective morality. He believed that the motive in an action is important, that we should do actions morally just because that is the right thing to do. The very word `deontological` comes from the Greek word `deon` that means duty. Kant believed that we need to use reason to discover our duty, and he also believed that we can verify this by experience, which relates to his philosophy of the phenomenal and nominal. It also shows his ideas that moral statements are `a priori-synthetic`, meaning that we know what is moral innately, and it can be checked with experience. With this we are able to carry out our duty. Kant produced two imperative commands to describe his theory. The first is the hypothetical imperative, and this does not command universally applicable moral rules. It states that you act in a certain way to achieve a goal, doing `A` to get to `B`, like practicing an instrument in order to improve. This differs from the categorical imperative (CI), which forms the majority...
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