Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

(Post 1/4) Kant on Moral Actions

Megan Fischer Section 10, Group 1

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a German philosopher during the Enlightenment era of the late 18th century. He’s had many theories on many different subjects, with his best known work being his Critique of Pure Reason. But for the purpose of this report, I will be focusing on his views and theories of moral actions. A great deal of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy was based on the question “What is a moral action?”. He thought that in order to tell whether a person’s actions were moral or not you must know the intention behind the actions. Kant never considered consequences of actions as being an indicator to whether an action was moral or not because we are not in control of the consequences – only the action and the intention behind it. Kant also thought that because we can’t fully control our emotions, they are also irrelevant to the morality of an action. Kant thought the only way an action can be considered morally right is if the action was carried out because of a sense of duty. Kant used the term maxim to describe the intentions behind the actions and as the general principles underlying the actions. One of Kant’s more famous view on moral actions was his Categorical Imperatives system, which are commands to act in certain ways. He used hypothetical duties in contrast to his categorical duties. Hypothetical duties are those that tell you what you should or should not do to avoid or attain certain outcomes. He only considered there to be one basic Categorical Imperative which was: “Act only on maxims which you can at the same time rationally want to be universal laws”. Although he had many different Categorical Imperative, this lead to his principle of universalizability which was also his most influential.
To Be Continued….

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a fan of Kant's ethics, but I admire his dutiful habit of walking every day so habitually that his neighbors could "set their watches" by him. As William James would later say, constructive habits are indispensable.