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Report Thread starter 2 years ago
I have been asked to plan and revise a 25 marker on whether kantians ethical systems is the correct way to make moral decisions and I really need everyone’s help because I have no clue on how to answer it and I’m reading over notes and the book and nothing is helping, thank you!
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Report 2 years ago
Ooh, that's not a nice question. I don't like the word 'correct'.

You could talk about how practical and realistic it is, and compare it to other moral decision-making methods (I assume Natural Law, Utilitarianism & Situation Ethics? But I don't know because I'm on OCR).

I hope that helps a little... good luck
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Report 2 years ago
Some suggestions:

Problems with application

Step 1: The first formulation it seems could be abused. What if someone decided they wanted to steal, but edited their maxim from ‘I can steal’ to ‘someone with 6 letters in their name can steal’. This maxim could be universalised because if only a minority of people steal, the concept of property on which stealing depends would not be undermined by only a few people stealing.

Step 2: Kant responds that this is a misunderstanding of his theory. What must be universalised is the maxim of your will. The will of the person who wants to steal has nothing to do with the number of letters in their name. Therefore the maxim they are attempting to put forward for universalization is not really the maxim of their will, which is simply that they want to steal.

Step 3: What if someone for some reason really did think that the number of letters in their name meant that they should be allowed to steal though?

Step 4: Kant would suggest they are being irrational

The value of certain motives, eg love, friendship, kindness

Step 1: For Kant, ‘duty for duty’s sake’ is the only motive that has moral value. The father who helps his child out of duty therefore has less moral value than the father who helps his child out of love. Putting duty above feelings seems inhuman or at least impractical.

Step 2: Kant isn’t suggesting we completely eliminate our feelings, just that we not let those feelings be the reason for our moral actions.

Step 3: However this seems to miss the point of the objection which is that such feelings actually should be that deciding force.

Step 4: Kant would respond that to claim that we should feel empathy towards those to whom we give charity means that our ethical judgement regards the goodness of the action of giving charity as dependent on the presence of empathy in the feelings of the acting agent. This means to disagree with Kant is to claim that those deserving of charity deserve it if the person giving feels empathy. However this sounds absurd, even to most people who think it right to feel empathy. Kant’s point it that the only accurate and appropriate reason someone might deserve charity is because it’s morally right for them to receive it. Our personal feelings have no bearing on that fact and therefore no place in the moral equation as reason for our actions.

Furthermore, It’s not like we are doing that great a job in the world relying on our emotions to guide us. Perhaps it’s our evolved moral psychology and emotions that cause us to spend a lot of time thinking and caring about a little girl stuck down a well but not the hundreds of people who died in some country we can’t name.

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