Immanuel Kant's Moral Theory

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Immanuel Kant’s Moral Theory is widely studied in philosophy and the field of ethics. In his theory, Kant expresses the ways to determine the morality of an action: examining the intentions behind the action in question is most important instead of merely considering the consequences. Moral actions, he explains, must have the intention of being consistent with duty for the sake of duty and doing the right thing; they cannot be motivated by any inclinations. Actions inconsistent with duty would be, for example, lying, cheating, stealing, or breaking a promise. These actions could never be moral in any case since they defy the honesty of duty. Furthermore, avoiding these actions to avoid reprimand or judgement from others would not be moral because …show more content…
To determine whether or not a rule is moral, categorical imperatives must be tested with three main components: universal law, respect for others, and autonomy. Universal law states that any maxim that one applies to oneself must be capable of being applied universally. Kant is quoted, “I ought never to act in such a way that I couldn’t also will that the maxim on which I act should be a universal law,” (2008). An example of this is borrowing money from a friend. If someone asked a friend to loan them some money but knew they could not ever repay their friend, is it ethical to make a personal exemption? Kant says no. To be moral, one cannot make special exceptions for themselves regarding ethical issues. If everyone, in this instance, made the same false promise, no one would ever lend anyone any money. The second component of the test is whether or not actions are respectful to other people. In the case of borrowing money, it is disrespectful to the friend for the person to be dishonest about repaying them. Additionally, respect for others means treating them as ends in themselves as well as means to one’s personal end. To enumerate, if a plumber is fixing a pipe, they are a means to an end. However, the plumber should be paid for their service. This payment would also treat them as an end. Lastly, the test considers the autonomy of a debatable moral action. Autonomy, self-legislation, is

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