Immanuel Kant's Theory Of Moral Philosophy

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Ethics also called moral philosophy, “is the discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad, right and wrong. The term is also applied to any system or theory of moral values or principles”.1 For Socrates “Ethics are the norms by which acceptable and unacceptable behavior are measured”.2 He believed that individuals develop ethics through maturity, wisdom and love. Ethics have developed as people have reflected on the intentions and consequences of their actions. Immanuel Kant however argued that “moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he called the Categorical Imperative”.3 Kant’s theory can be seen as an example of the deontological moral theory. According to this theory, the rightness or wrongness of actions does…show more content…
Theoretical ethics asks questions about ethical values origins, justification and evaluation and is generally divided into meta-ethics, applied ethics, and normative ethics, whereas practical ethics focuses on their application to specific issues. Meta-ethics is “the study of the origin and meaning of ethical concepts”.5 It investigates where humans derive their ethical principles from, and what they mean to them. What is moral or ethical goodness? Is one such question it seeks to answer, it focuses on “universal truths, the will of God, and the role of reason in ethical judgments”.6 It also explores as well as connect between values, reasons for action, and human motivation, by asking how it is that moral standards provide us with reasons to do or not to do as it demands. Here moral relativism and moral absolutism are brought in. Moral relativism rejects moral absolutism and argues that moral values are human inventions. From moral relativism there is individual relativism which holds that “individuals create their own moral standards” and cultural relativism which holds that “morality is grounded in the approval of society and not the preferences of individual people”.7 Normative ethics revolves around arriving at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct of individuals. In essence, it is the search for an ideal test of behaviour that is considered ‘proper’. This involves some amount of religious views, e.g. the bible tells us that ‘Thou shall not steal’ the interpretation being that it is morally wrong. This reasoning assist in determining ethically what is right and what is wrong. As individuals you don’t want people stealing from you so therefore, you don’t steal. The key assumption here is moral conduct; this is where the virtue, duty and consequentialist theories are derived. Virtue ethics places less emphasis on learning rules and more emphasis on the
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