Kantian Ethics

Kantian Ethics - Kantian Ethics Richard Schultz...

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Kantian Ethics Richard Schultz EMG3328-Business Ethics August 1, 2010
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Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had an interesting ethical system. It is based on a belief that reason is the final authority for morality. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for expediency or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. A moral act is an act done for the right reasons. Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral - you might as well not make the promise. You must have a duty code inside of you or it will not come through in your actions otherwise. Our ability to reason will always allow us to know what our duty is and Kant described two types of common commands given by reason: the hypothetical imperative, which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end; and the categorical imperative, which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness. The categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant in these words: "Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will and general natural law." Therefore, before proceeding to act, you must decide what rule you would be following if you were to act, whether you are willing for that rule to be followed by everyone everywhere. If you are willing to universalize the act, it must be moral; if you are not, then the act is morally impermissible. Kant shows that the acceptable formation of the moral law cannot be merely hypothetical because our actions cannot be moral on the ground of some conditional purpose or goal. Morality requires an unconditional statement of one's duty and reason produces that absolute statement for moral action. Kant believes that reason dictates a categorical imperative for moral action.
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This note was uploaded on 05/15/2011 for the course BUS 3650 taught by Professor Collins during the Spring '11 term at FIT.

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Kantian Ethics - Kantian Ethics Richard Schultz...

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