Kant’s theory of ethics is deontological meaning that it is concerned with the morality of duty. If focuses on the morality of actions and disregards the consequences of an action. It is absolute since the morality of an action takes no regard of the situation it is in. Moral duty
Kant said that we all experience an innate moral duty. The existence of the conscience and feelings of guilt and shame tell us when we violate this moral duty. He believed that our moral duty could be revealed to us through reason, objectively. His theory was based solely on duty. He said that to act morally is to perform one’s duty, and one’s duty is to obey the innate moral laws. He believed that we are constantly in a battle with our inclination – our raw wants and desires. We should not act out of love or compassion. Kant said that it’s was not our duty to do what is impossible for us to do. For Kant, the fact that we ought to do something means that it is logically possible to do – ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. Moral statements are prescriptive; they prescribe an action. If ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ then the statement, ‘I ought to do x’, implies that ‘I can do x’. Kant said that we all aim to reach an ultimate end call the supreme good, the summum bonum – a state in which human virtue and happiness are united. However, since it is impossible to reach this state in one lifetime, he deduced that we have immortal souls to succeed. Thus, Kant believed in an afterlife where there is a possibility of reaching the supreme good. For an afterlife to exists, Kant said God must exist to aid eschatological justice. For him, God was necessary for morality not the other way round – he rejected all classical notions of theism.
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