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Flashcards in Deontology Deck (25):


deonotloigcal = greek = deon = duty
deontological theories are based on the idea that actions are right or wrong themselves not in the consequence.
an example = kantian ethics
kant believed in an objective right and wrong


Immaunel Kant

1724 - 1804
one of the most influential philosophers


Copernican Revolution

within the 'critique of pure reason'
Main area of study was to investigate formal structures of pure reasoning
Kant combined both empiricism and rationalism.
Concerned with the problem of objective knowledge
but through combining empiricism and rationalism he believed the structure of our mind goes in hand with the evidence.



knowledge through the senses



knowledge through mind


Hume rejection

Kant rejects Hume due to his empiricist views that human nature is what drives our feeling and desires.
Because of this Hume says there cant be an objective standard of morality.
Kant says Hume awoke him leading to his A PRIOR argument.
Kant says our human reason is what makes us different to other species, we all have a common moral duty from our good will therefore our morals are objectified.


Hume awoke Kant from..

"his dogmatic slumbers"


Hume says..

"we are all slaves to our passions"


Good will

GW is one of Kants main points
it is the only thing that can be good in and of itself.
GW simply follows the duty of doing good, drives us to do good actions without the personal gain.
Unlike other motives e.g. courage, intelligence and happiness which may sometimes be put to bad use.



GW in practice according to Kant id 'doing your duty'
It is important that duty is done for own sake.
Doesn't matter who benefits from the action - motives need to be pure.
The GW chooses for duty sake so is morally sound.


Categorical Imperative definition

things that should be done without any conditions attached.



Just as Aquinas (1225 -1274) with NML. Kant uses reason to work out the moral rules.
Our reason enables us to find our duty through the CI.
They are rules that would be followed by any rsational agent.
They are your duty, you should do your duty because it is your duty.


1. Universability

To work out to follow a maxim make it universal.
Kant asks to treat your decision as a law of nature.
If in the same situation would you like other people to always act the same?
Can it be universalised without contradiction?
e.g. suicidal man kant example


2. Formula of Humanity

Never treat people as a means to an end but an end in themselves.
We should not use them but treat them with the respect they deserve.
To be consistent we need to value all equally as it is moral and our duty.


3. Kingdom of ends

Combination of the two
Acts as if a legislating member in the universal KOE
Must use our human reason to create a society in which all are valued.



- accessible to all, it is straight forward and focuses on reason to work out the right and wrong.
- motivation is more important the consequences, the moral value comes from the action itself
- through the CI gives rules that apply to all
- kant sees human beings of being of intrinsic worth and dignity as rational creatures, can't be slaves and this is the basis of the declaration of human rights.



- objectivity is not always the best way
- theory is too abstract and not always easily applied
- Macintrye points out that we can use universality for anything "all men called Tom must eat fish on Friday."
- can be saw as an emotionless ethic - motivation not always good.


Good will quote

it is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification except a good will.


Good will = jewel quote

good will then, like a jewel, it would shine by its own light as a thing which has whole value in itself


duty quote

in conformity with duty


universal quote

act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universability


Suicidal man quote

a man reduced to misery asks whether its contrary to duty to take his life - we see this system would destroy life - cannot exist as a universal law


Freedom of humanity quote

act in such a ways as you always treat humanity, never simply as a means but always at the same time as an end


Kant quote

Moral grounds of impulse ought to be presented by themselves and for themselves.


McIntyre critic

all i need to do is to characterise the proposed action in such a way the maxim will permit me to do what i want