Kant and Applied Ethics: June 20, Matthew C. Altman, Kant and Applied Ethics:
As part of the Enlightenment tradition, Kant based his ethical theory on the belief that reason should be used to determine how people ought to act.
No other virtue has this status because every other virtue can be used to achieve immoral ends the virtue of loyalty is not good if one is loyal to an evil person, for example. The good will is unique in that it is always good and maintains its moral value even when it fails to achieve its moral intentions.
A will which acts from duty is distinguishable as a will which overcomes hindrances in order to keep the moral law.
A dutiful will is thus a special case of a good will which becomes visible in adverse conditions. Kant argues that only acts performed with regard to duty have moral worth. This is not to say that acts performed merely in accordance with duty are worthless these still deserve approval and encouragementbut that special esteem is given to acts which are performed out of duty.
Thus, when an agent performs an action from duty it is because the rational incentives matter to them more than their opposing inclinations. Kant wished to move beyond the conception morality as externally imposed duties and present an ethics of autonomy, when rational agents freely recognise the claims reason makes upon them.
The former are classified as perfect duties, the latter as imperfect. A perfect duty always holds true—there is a perfect duty to tell the truth, so we must never lie.
An imperfect duty allows flexibility—beneficence is an imperfect duty because we are not obliged to be completely beneficent at all times, but may choose the times and places in which we are. A hypothetical imperative is one we must obey if we want to satisfy our desires: A categorical imperative binds us regardless of our desires: These imperatives are morally binding because they are based on reason, rather than contingent facts about an agent.
We owe a duty to rationality by virtue of being rational agents; therefore, rational moral principles apply to all rational agents at all times.
For Kant, an act is only permissible if one is willing for the maxim that allows the action to be a universal law by which everyone acts. A contradiction in conception happens when, if a maxim were to be universalized, it ceases to make sense because the " The maxim is not moral because it is logically impossible to universalize—we could not conceive of a world where this maxim was universalized.
This does not mean a logical contradiction, but that universalizing the maxim leads to a state of affairs that no rational being would desire. He thus believed that a perfectly rational being must also be perfectly moral because a perfectly rational being subjectively finds it necessary to do what is rationally necessary.
Because humans are not perfectly rational they partly act by instinctKant believed that humans must conform their subjective will with objective rational laws, which he called conformity obligation. Just as physical laws exist prior to physical beings, rational laws morality exist prior to rational beings.
Therefore, according to Kant, rational morality is universal and cannot change depending on circumstance. Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means. A rational being cannot rationally consent to being used merely as a means to an end, so they must always be treated as an end.
Because all rational agents rationally will themselves to be an end and never merely a means, it is morally obligatory that they are treated as such. Kant believed that any moral law motivated by the desire to fulfill some other interest would deny the Categorical Imperative, leading him to argue that the moral law must only arise from a rational will.
A rational being must always regard himself as giving laws either as member or as sovereign in a kingdom of ends which is rendered possible by the freedom of will. Accordingly, people have an obligation to act upon principles that a community of rational agents would accept as laws.The three schools are virtue ethics, consequentialist ethics, and deontological or duty-based ethics.
Each approach provides a different way to understanding ethics. Environmental ethics is the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its .
This is the second reason Kant held that fundamental issues in ethics must be addressed with an a priori method: The ultimate subject matter of ethics is the nature and content of the principles that necessarily determine a rational will. 1. All of the three approaches to environmental ethics use Kant's principle to various extents. The differences between them lie in their individual definitions of moral categories. It's like looking at the same slide under three different powers on a microscope. Each approach relies on Kant's principle to protect the interest of that which they deem worthy. The idea that Kant thought we should treat all people with respect and not use them, this is the idea that you should treat people as a means but not as an ends. Kant believed that humans was God's greatest creation and we should therefore treat humans with respect.
Environmental Ethics. This interactive handout is written by Dr Julian Dobson of Tonbridge School, Kent. The issues. Environmental Ethics has been defined as “a systematic account of the relations of human beings to their environment” (DesJardins, Environmental Ethics, pg 11).
There are three approaches. Kant claims that all three do in fact say the same thing, but it is currently disputed whether this is true.
The second formulation is the easiest to understand, but the first one is most clearly a categorical imperative. Ethics. The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior.
Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Kant and Applied Ethics is an ambitious attempt to assess the success of Kant's moral theory in the field of applied ethics.
The book defends Kantian answers to a number of central questions in applied ethics but it also raises objections to Kant's ethical theory.