Kantian Ethics: The Moral Philosophy Established By Immanual Kant

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Kantian ethics, the moral philosophy established by Immanual Kant in his work Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, is centered around the idea of the “categorical imperative”, the principle that certain actions are strictly prohibited, despite the potential for the prohibited action to bring about more good than the alternative. Kant believed that since humans have the ability to reason, they must use their rationale to determine what these unwavering truths, or moral duties, are. For Kant, if humans act in accordance with these moral duties, and not out of preference, instinct or desire, they are in turn acting with moral worth. This ethical outline can be applied to the case of Ben and Tyler, two buddies whose friendship is …show more content…
In Ben’s circumstances, and circumstances of similar nature, if he were to act according to Kantian ethics, his approach would begin with carrying out the action that is aligned with a good-will and a moral duty to act. To Kantian ethics, human rationality and the development of the good-will are of central importance. Kant believed that since humans have the ability to reason, they must use their rationale to recognize the demands of reason, “for reason recognizes the establishment of a good will as its highest practical destination” (Marino 194). For Kant, it’s not the consequences of the actions that truly matter, but the motivation of doing them out of a good-will. The only genuinely good actions are the actions done exclusively out of respect for the moral rules. Kantian theory is an example of a deontological theory, meaning that the rightfulness or wrongfulness of actions does not depend on the results of the action, but instead, depends on the motives behind the action itself. This deontological approach relates to the supreme principle of morality that Kant referred to as the ‘Categorical …show more content…
This maxim calls us to respect others and ourselves as people with moral worth and dignity. Kant believed that since each human was born with the ability to ration, they therefore, are all creatures of moral worth. By avoiding the use of people as a mere means, we can guarantee that the action is morally worthy. In order to act with moral worth, we are called by the ‘Rights Test’ to “recognize human beings as valuable in and of themselves, regardless of their physical and mental attributes… or what they are worth to others” (Hamilton). Ultimately, a Kantian ethical framework does not emphasize the outcome that is achieved by an action, but instead, determines the moral worth of an action based on the motive behind it. In terms of moral reasoning, Kant calls us to focus our attention on human rationale and a

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