Religion & Philosophy Essay
a) What are the central features of Kant’s deontolgy?
Immanuel Kant believed that to live a good life is to lead a life of happiness. This is not saying that people should only live a life that brings them pleasure and satisfaction, as is often argued in Utilitarianism. Rather it is saying that to live a moral life is to live in a state of peace. For Kant, the Summum Bonum (highest good) describes the ideal, where there is both virtue and happiness.
In The Fundamental Principles Kant speaks of a very comprehensive moral argument. This is of the Good Will in which he says “Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a Good Will”. This means that only the intention in one’s mind before carrying out an action can be called good as appose to the action itself. The action itself is morally neutral.
Kant gives us an example of a grocer to illustrate his idea. In this example, he explains there is a grocer, who always treats his customers honestly, never overcharging. However the only reason he is honest, is because he believes that if he is honest, customers will prefer to do business with him rather than other shops. The grocer is honest, not because it is his duty to be honest, but simply because it is in his own interest to gain customers, and according to Kant, an act with the intention of self-interest is not a moral act.
According to Kant, consequences are not relevant in judging the morality of an action. Kant believes that extrinsic values of an act such as consequences are irrelevant because the consequences are out of our control and therefore cannot determine the morality of an act. Kant believes that intrinsic values should be used to judge the morality of actions.
Kant believes that everyone who has ever or will ever live have a universal moral law. These moral laws govern the social world and are expressed as imperatives. More...
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