Immanuel Kant Presentation
Deontology – Deon-duty, logos -science
Because we so regularly take it for granted that moral values are closely related with the goal of human well-being or happiness
Kant's claim that these two ideas are absolutely separate makes it difficult to grasp his point of view and easy to misunderstand it.
"Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good without qualification, except a good will."
What does Kant mean by a "good will"?
A "good will" means to act out of a purpose of moral obligation or "duty".
In other words, the moral person does a certain action not because of its consequences, but because she ...view middle of the document...
But this person may recognize that they have a duty to help others if they can and they might say. “I have some extra money let me buy this guy some food.” Here’s a person who doesn’t want to help this homeless person. It doesn’t give them any satisfaction, doesn’t give them any joy in fact it might cause them some kind of discomfort helping this person. “Eww why do I have to do this?” Why? Because they recognize that they have a duty to help others. Kant doesn’t think it’s required for you to feel this way when doing your moral duty to make it truly moral but it certainly illustrates the distinction that he was trying to make here which is that it’s one thing to feel the PULL of a duty, it’s another thing to get Pleasure from doing something.
So it may be the case that most people feel good about themselves after helping someone, or telling the truth and the various things that one ought to do. That’s a wonderful thing and Kant doesn’t deny that you can feel good about yourself after you perform your duties. But he thinks that that just an arbitrary accidental fact about us.
Establishing morality by reasoning alone.
Moral law is binding for all persons just like the laws of gravity – you can’t object as you’re falling from the 14th floor “wait I don’t like this I don’t want to be falling anymore” You can’t object to that it’s too late to exempt yourself from the effects of gravity. Neither can you exempt yourself from moral law says Kant. Kant set out to establish that moral rules could be absolute just like the rules in mathematics and physics. Just like 2 + 2 = 4, and the law of gravity is the same for everyone. Moral laws must be universally binding and one that all rational creatures must acknowledge is worthy of respect.
Any principle which can be "universalized" is one which can be held to apply to all persons without involving inconsistency. Kant reaches this conclusion because what it is to be a "rational being" would avoid ideas that would contradict each other as to avoid "inconsistency."
To act on the principle that I may break my promises whenever it is convenient to do so, would, if universalized, mean everyone could do so. The practice of promise making would then quickly lose its very purpose which is to secure a commitment on which one can depend. To act on such a principle, then, would be "inconsistent" with the very practice of making promises.
2 types of imperative commands
“if your happy and you know it clap your hands”
Involves emotional and mental states you may or may not be in the command is conditional.
If you want Y then do X
Y=end, the goal, what you want
X=means, of attaining your goal
If you want to be a good person then you have to act morally.
What happens if a person doesn’t care to be a good person can they opt out of acting morally.
Kant says that rules are not things you can follow if you feel like it.