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Theories on Ethics and Morality by Kierkegaard and Kant

Compare and contrast different philosophers ideas on ethics and morality

Sophia Wacker

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of Theories on Ethics and Morality by Kierkegaard and Kant

Drawbacks to Kierkegaard's Theories Strongly rooted in religion
Requires Christian faith
Less structure
More allowance for abuse and excuses
Not equal for everyone May 5, 1813 - November 11, 1855
Grew up in a religious household
Broke off engagement to follow higher religious calling
Danish Philosopher
"Father of Religious Existentialism"
Works: Fear and Trembling, Christian Discourses, Either / Or, Philosophical fragments, and many essays and articles Background of Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard's Theories on Ethics and Morality Theories on ethics characterized by religion, individualism, commitment, and authenticity
Defined the "stages of morality" a person goes through
Immediacy, avoidance of boredom, variety of personality types, constantly moving, no commitments, no ethical concern
No sense of self
Leads to despair
Some commitments, ethical concerns, rational religion, universal ethics
Partial Self
Leads to despair
Religiousness A
Higher goals, divine commands, rational natural religion, does good things to be rewarded, partially drops universalized ethics
Near full self
Leads to despair
Religiousness B
"Decisive Christianity", "Teleological suspension of the ethical", absurdity of religion, does good for goodness's sake, single individual before God
Full self Benefits to Kierkegaard's Theories Strongly rooted in religion
Favorable to those with a Christian faith
Allows for forgiveness for mistakes
Can be tailored for specific situations
Less structured
Easier to follow Kant and Kierkegaard's Theories on
Ethics and Morality Soren Kierkegaard Immanuel Kant Background of Immanuel Kant Kant's Theories on Ethics
and Morality Theories on ethics characterized by emphasis on duty, structure, universality, equality, reason, and motivation
Searched to define the requirements of a "moral law" and a "moral person"
Characteristics of a moral law:
Must be an obligation and a binding duty
Must be universally valid
Must be derived from pure reason
No experience, no emotion
Fosters equality
Must be specially motivated by the "Goodwill"
The "Goodwill" - desire to do good because it is good
Other motivation makes otherwise moral actions simply good
Characteristics of a moral person:
Does moral actions out of "Goodwill"
Obeys moral laws April 22, 1724 - February 12, 1804
Extremely strict upbringing influenced theories on morality
Raised religious, later agnostic
Lived a very strict and "predictable" life
Never married, socialized through his teaching
German Philosopher during the Enlightenment
Works: Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, Metaphysics of Morals, Prolegomena, Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, Critique of Judgement Ethics and Morality Ethics: a set of moral guidelines that are the basis for the actions of a person or group
Morality: principles that define right from wrong Benefits to Kant's Theories Extreme strictness and structure leave little room for personalized interpretation
Easy to understand
Clear "directions" to morality
Defined characteristics of moral law
Helpful for ethically concerned governments Drawbacks to Kant's Theories Strict nature of morality
Does not allow for exceptions
May be difficult to follow in all situations
Belief that morality must be universal
Is morality truly universal? Similarities Between Kant's and Kierkegaard's Theories on Ethics Both concerned with the question of morality and ethics
Backgrounds influenced philosophical beliefs
Believe correct motivation for moral actions
Kant - "Goodwill"
Kierkegaard - doing good for goodness's sake
Certain sense of obligation
Kant - obligation to moral laws
Kierkegaard - obligation to God Differences Between Kant's and Kierkegaard's Theories on Ethics Different ways of achieving morality
Kant - guidelines
Kierkegaard - stages
Absence of religion opposed to reliance on religion
Universality opposed to individualism
More structured and strict as opposed to less structured and strict
Immateriality of emotion and experience in favor of reason opposed to acceptance of absurdity and necessity of emotion Superiority of Kant's Theories on Ethics Extreme structure and strict guidelines
Ease of following
Clarity of understanding
Lack of religion
More reason based
Easier to accept
Enables equality
Clarifies right from wrong
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