Medical Ethics Darin Harootunian 10/7/11 1 Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals Kant’s ethical theory is a deontological theory of ethics. A deontological ethical theory is a type of normative ethical theory of behavior; it focuses on moral duty or moral obligation – what we morally ought to do . The notion of moral obligation is foundational to a deontic theory. ( Deon means duty. Deontology is the science of duty .) On a deontological theory, the moral value of an action depends upon the agent’s intention in performing the action. Kant begins the Groundwork with this claim: It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will. We can paraphrase the claim as follows: The only thing that is good without qualification is a good will. What does it mean to say that something is good without qualification? A thing is good without qualification if and only if the thing is unconditionally good, or good in
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2011 for the course PHIL 164 taught by Professor Doviak during the Fall '07 term at UMass (Amherst).