Are There Moral Absolutes

Are There Moral Absolutes - policy is to avoid the known...

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Are There Moral Absolutes? Kant- Morality is a matter of following absolute rules. Lying is never right, no matter what he circumstances. Hypothetical obligations tell us what to do to fulfill our desires. We can escape these obligations by renouncing the desires. Moral obligations do not depend on us having particular desires. They are categorical: we ought to do so and so, period. For example, you should help people regardless of your wants, desires, or even the outcome of helping them. Categorical obligations are possible because we have reason. Kant s Categorical Imperative: "Act only according to that maxim that you would will to be universal law." Kant on Responsibility: "Whoever tells a lie, however well-intentioned, must answer for the consequences, however unforeseeable they are, and pay the penalty for them." But we are also morally responsible for the bad consequences of telling the truth! Rationale: We can never be certain about what the consequences of our actions will be we cannot know that good results will always follow. Therefore the best
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Unformatted text preview: policy is to avoid the known evil, lying: we will have done our duty. The categorical imperative has been popular because it argues that moral reasons, if they are valid at all, are binding on all people at all times. This concept is known as consistency. Problems with Kant s Categorical Imperative We could will a universal rule that it is permissible to universal to lie when doing so would save someone s life, which would not be self-defeating! So long as there are at least two absolute rules, the possibility will always exist that they might come into conflict, which makes a theory of absolute rules impossible to maintain. . Summary All that Kant s basic idea requires is that when we violate a rule, we do so for a reason that we would be willing for anyone to accept, were they in our position. Kant went awry when he insisted that consistency requires rules that have no exceptions....
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This note was uploaded on 11/21/2011 for the course RTV 4931 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Florida.

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