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Joseph Campisi

on 11 June 2014

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Transcript of Deontology

Defense of Deontology

Immanuel Kant:
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Kant's Basic Ethical Assumptions
The Categorical Imperative
Two formulations of the categorical imperative:

the universal law version
the autonomy version
Applying the categorical imperative
Deontology vs. Utilitarianism
Criticisms of Deontology
Conflicts between duties?
Basic claim: an action is ethical if it is performed in accordance with a moral duty
Ethics is universal
Every individual deserves moral respect
The universal law formulation: "Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law," Kant,
The autonomy version: "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in any other person, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means," Kant,
Step 1: Identify the situation you are in
For example, say you borrowed money from a friend, but now you don't feel like paying him back ...
Step 3: Apply the categorical imperative to your maxim
Step 2: Derive a "maxim" or general rule from your specific situation
Going back to our example, your maxim would be "Whenever you borrow money and don't want to pay it back, you don't have to"
Version 1: Can your maxim be willed into a universal law?
Version 2: Are you treating people as ends in themselves or just using them as means to an end?
Intentions vs. Consequences
"The moral worth of an action done out of duty has its moral worth, not
in the objective
to be reached by that action, but in the maxim in accordance with which the action is decided upon; it depends, therefore, not on actualizing the object of the action, but solely on the
principle of volition
in accordance with which the action was done," Kant,
Motives Matter
"For if any action is to be morally good, it is not enough that it should
to the moral law -- it must also be done
for the sake of that law
," Kant,
Full transcript