DSST Business Ethics Study Guide sm

Interestingly kant believed telling a lie was always

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Interestingly, Kant believed telling a lie was always wrong even if a vicious murderer asked you where your friend was so he could murder him. Second, some say Kant dismisses emotions such as pity and compassion as irrelevant to morality. But many think these are “moral” emotions that cannot be separated from morality. Why should helping an old lady across the street out of compassion not be considered moral? What is wrong with compassion and pity? Third, some say Kant’s approach does not take the consequences of actions seriously enough. What if a well-intentioned person with a good motive causes a number of deaths? He would be morally blameless according to Kant’s view. Or, what if a well-intentioned babysitter dries your cat in a microwave oven? Would you say, “That’s okay, her motive was good.”
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Introduction : An attraction to the Kantian doctrines of obligation is begun along the following lines: (1) If the purpose of life were just to achieve happiness, then we would all seek pleasure and gratification and hope that it would lead to happiness. The problem is that happiness is not totally within our power to achieve; to a large extent, happiness is a matter of luck. Consequently, being happy and being good are two different things. (2) If we are to avoid skepticism or even nihilism and our ethics is to be rationally based, it must be unconditional ( i.e ., have no exceptions) and be universal ( i.e ., be applicable to all human beings). I. The good will is the only good without qualification. A. The good will is a will that acts for the sake of duty, as a "good-in-itself." B. Kant emphasizes these important considerations about duty: 1. The class of actions in accordance with duty must be distinguished from the class of actions performed for the sake of duty . 2. Kant believes only actions performed for the sake of duty have moral worth. He seems to suggest that the greater one's disinclination to act for the sake of duty, the greater the moral worth of the action. a. If one performs an action by inclination, then that action, on Kant's view, has no moral worth. Thus, morality necessarily involves a struggle against our emotional inclinations. The natural love of a parent for a son or daughter has no moral worth in the Kantian sense of the term.
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b. The choices necessary to live a good life could involve actions which entail results incompatible with happiness. c. Yet, as opposed to Kant, isn't Aristotle correct in his assessment of the formation of character through habit? Isn't it better to do things from inclination? E.g., suppose an acquaintance has to struggle with himself not to start rumors about you and is successful. Should his actions be valued more than an acquaintance who is fair to you by habit? d. Or, in the same spirit, as Stace points out, "Isn't it better to do one's duty cheerfully than begrudgingly?" II. Duty is the necessity of acting out of reverence for universal law. Moral value is essentially established by the intention of the person acting.
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