Whilst Plato’s concept of justice attaches more importance to duties, Aristotle’s views lay emphasis on the system of rights. Also, Plato’s justice establishes a system of classes whilst Aristotle establishes equality between different members of the state. However, Socrates sees justice as the whole idea of man’s existence hence his unshakable desire to obey the laws of the state. Eventhough Thomas Hobbes and John Locke regard justice as the basis for maintaining peaceful coexistence in human society, they differ on how it comes about. To Hobbes, human beings are irrational in nature hence the need for a system (state) to maintain law and order.
He claimed that justice is teleological which means that each individuals on its own acts in accordance with his/her ethics but when placed in a societal set up it is politics that is witnessed in the people. Aristotle classified knowledge into three categories: theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge, and productive knowledge. Theoretical knowledge aimed at contemplation, productive knowledge encouraged creation and practical knowledge gave rise to action. He did this because he believed that mere abstract knowledge of ethics and politics is worthless. Aristotle distinguishes between practical and theoretical knowledge in terms of the level of precision that can be attained when studying them.
Before Kant, moral philosophy was dominated by Crusius’s sense of divine morality which stipulates that the will of a person has to be in accordance with the will of God. Wolff’s notion of moral perfection adds that we should strive to procedurally achieve our sense of moral obligation to the degree that the ends or effects of a particular action are based on our ability to calculate perfection. Kant concludes that Wolff’s postulates are virtually impossible in attempting perfection in 1764 in his Prize Essay ,‘‘now I can with little effort show how I became convinced, after much thought, that the rule ‘do the most perfect action which for you is possible’. ’’ (Prize Essay.2:229) Crusius and Wolff’s arguments essentially appeal to the un-provable
Was his lie just? To evaluate this question I would rely on Immanuel Kant 's deontology that state we should treat humans as an end and never merely as means. After explaining it, I will argue that lying to the Vichy authorities was the right thing to do because the value of life is higher than the duty not to lie. I will defend this argument by discussing one of the critiques on deontology. The goal of deontology is to find a categorical, unconditional imperative that will enable the creation of universal laws of nature, legislated by rational and free beings.
If civil law is a type of moral law, and justice is a moral virtue, then it is impossible to execute justice in civil affairs without reference to moral law. Without morality, law does not exist because it does not contain real justice. Real justice is following natural and moral law in how a person punishes and acts. Natural law is instilled into the hearts of men by God and provides a means of deciphering right from wrong. It can be “discovered by reason alone and applies to all people, while divine law can be discovered only through God 's special revelation and applies only to those to whom it is revealed and who God specifically indicates are to be bound.”12 Though one may not believe in divine or moral law, natural law can still be used to determine justice from injustice.
Kant’s ethical theory Kant’s ethical theory relies on the principles that the only one thing, which is good without qualification, is a good will. In Kant’s term, a good will is a will, where all taken decisions are fully determined by the Moral Law or moral demands. He states that all talents of the mind, which can include intelligence, wit, judgment, courage and others can be definitely named as good traits, however, at the same time these qualities can also become extremely bad on the condition that the will of using them is not good. Kant believed that some kinds of actions should be prohibited, such as murder, theft or lying, even though the consequences of these actions would lead to bringing more happiness than the alternative (Bonevac, 2013). According to Kant, the categorical imperative is “what makes a will good is its conformity with the moral law”.
Liberalism and Hegemony: Debating the Canadian Liberal Revolution. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
Kant is remembered in ethics for his deontological ethical theory where he states that an action is morally justifiable if an actor is bound by his obedience to act by a set of laws. Kant’s ethics thus states that one “must” always conform to a set of rules hence at other times called “categorical imperative.” According
Kant was an 18th century philosopher who examined the roots of philosophy and formed the deontological moral duty theory. This theory assesses the moral integrity of an action, based on its motive, irrespective of its consequence; hence asserting that an action can only be good if, and only if, its maxim is duty to the moral law. The basic structure of Kant 's construction of the moral law is the categorical imperative, which explains that we have a duty to act in the same way every time we are faced with an ethical decision. You do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. According to Kant only the categorical imperative provides an enlightened premise for making decisions without relying on any other order i.e.
Stewart concluded that we are moral when we conduct ourselves in accordance with reason or conscience. Johann Gottleib Fichte (1762-1814) [Rammenau, Jena, Leipzig, Berlin]. He was the first great representative of the absolute idealistic school, who based his thought primarily on Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason. The relatively negative result of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason indicated to Fichte that men walk by faith rather than by sight, they live by what they believe rather than what they know. The moral interests of man must take precedence over his scientific interests.