Immanuel Kant's Moral Theory Essay

871 Words4 Pages
Immanuel Kant’s moral theory differs greatly from the other theories we have learned about, especially Mill’s view of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is based on the consequences of actions, while Kantian Ethics focuses on the intentions a person has before they act, and if they are fulfilling their duty as a person when acting. Kant explains his theory by providing examples of different people who are all doing the same action, but for different reasons. He discusses a store owner who charges everyone equal prices and explains that this only has moral worth if he is acting from duty, meaning he does this because it is what is right. The act is not moral if he acts in accordance with duty, or because he is worried about his reputation or business. This understanding of morality can be understood by looking at different examples similar to the store owner. One example that Kant discusses is two philanthropists that are giving to charity. Both the people that Kant describes are acting from duty. The first person is a normally empathetic person, who exhibits character traits…show more content…
If a person is acting in accordance with duty, they feel inclined to do something, not that it is their duty to do it. A person who is giving to others in accordance with duty, could possibly be doing it because everyone else is and they want to protect their reputation. This person would give to others for the recognition, to be praised or simply because everyone else is giving. A person who is giving in accordance with duty is likely doing it because they feel inclined to or for self-interested reasons. In the case of the philanthropists, both people that Kant describe are acting from duty. Even though the two philanthropists react differently to the situation, they both ultimately end up giving because it is the right thing to do. Because they are acting from duty, their action has moral
Open Document