Essay on Kantian Ethics And The Ethics Of Kant

1421 Words Jan 27th, 2015 6 Pages
Kantian ethics and the ethics of Kant are fundamentally separate ideas. The ethical framework Kant laid out in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of morals can be interpreted in a way which Kant himself would not adopt. This framework is based upon his three categorical imperatives, which Kant suggests our synonymous with each other. Later however, I will show how through a different application of Kantian ethics, one can radically diverge from his viewpoint, to disagree with Kant’s argument that it is morally wrong to make a promise one has no intention of keeping.

Kant uses the first formulation of the categorical imperative as a way of justifying how false promising is morally wrong. He brings up this particular ethical statement as a way of illustrating how the categorical imperative might be applied. Kant talks of a man who ‘sees himself pressured by distress into borrowing money… knowing very well that he will not be able to pay.’ By applying the first formulation of the categorical imperative, ‘I ought never to act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.’1 Kant believes that promising with no intention of keeping is morally wrong. By using reason, one can see that it is inherently contradictory. The universal law created would be like this: ‘There are certain times when everyone might make a promise we have no intention of keeping.’ The problem being that the definition of a promise is that it is a confirmation of a…

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