Kantian Ethics

Alexa Smith
Flashcards by , created almost 4 years ago

16 basic questions/explanations of the main areas of Kant's ethical theory.

Alexa Smith
Created by Alexa Smith almost 4 years ago
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Question Answer
Explain A Priori Synthetic You can know something without experiencing it, but experiencing it will consolidate it. E.G. We know that murder is wrong, but looking at the effects of murder proves this.
To act morally, we must exercise what? Freedom, or Autonomy of the Will
Why is 'Good Will' the only thing that can be unconditionally good? We can only control our incentives and our 'wills' and not the outcome, therefore the only thing that can be good and right is our 'good will'
What is a Hypothetical Imperative? An action done to reach a desire. e.g. "I want to get to uni, therefore I must get good grades"
What are the three postulates of Practical Reason? God, Immorality and Freedom
Why is God a postulate? By accepting that something is a right action presumes that the world is designed so that doing right leads to happiness, so there must be a God.
Why is Freedom a postulate? If you couldn’t act freely, you wouldn’t have a sense that you ought to do certain actions - which we do
Why is immorality a postulate? You cannot achieve the good in this lifetime, so there must be an afterlife.
In order to act rationally, what must we ignore and why? We must ignore our desires and inclinations as they are not necessarily rational.
What is our 'duty' Our 'Duty' is to act rationally and do something because of its internal worth and not because of any consequences.
What is the categorical imperative? The way we work out if an action is moral and part of our duty, or not.
Explain the first formulation of the Categorical imperative You must treat people as an END not as a MEANS. You cannot use people for your own gain.
Explain the second formulation of the Categorical Imperative Maximisation. You must be able to apply your action to everyone and it still be appropriate.
Explain the third formulation of the Categorical Imperative. Act as if you were a member of the Kingdom of Ends. Kingdom of ends = a society of rational beings, each of whom are treated as and 'end' - a free autonomous agent
Name three weaknesses of Kantian Ethics It's abstract and isn't easily applied to moral situations. The outcome is important too, not just the action or motive. Unrealistic as people rarely act from practical reason or from duty's sense only Doesn't clarify the difference between duties and what to do if they conflict
Name three strengths of Kantian Ethics Moral value comes from action its self. Can apply to everyone. Aims to treat everyone fairly. Humans have intrinsic worth and dignity. Straightforward and based on reason.