Kant's Deontological Ethics

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Kant and the Lying Promise In “Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals”, Kant explores the subject of duty and the binding force of morality. Kant explores the morality of among many cases, this paper being focused particularly on the case of the lying promise. To determine the morality of such action, Kant provides the Formula of Universal Law, which relies on a maxim passing four steps in order to be considered moral. First, I will explain the Formula of Universal Law and focus on the ethical position of duty belonging to Kant’s deontological ethics. Next, I’ll present Kant’s lying promise case and will analyze his explanation of it being immoral through the Formula of Universal Law. Finally, I’ll end by stating my disagreement with Kant’s…show more content…
Kant makes the point that an action done out of duty is intrinsically good, by stating, “The moral worth of an action done out of duty has its moral worth, not in the objective… but solely on the principle of violation…” (Kant 321). In other words, this means that an action has moral worth when it doesn’t matter what consequences it has but rather the thought of not doing the dutiful thing is compelling enough to make someone act morally. To act out of duty alone is to follow the categorical imperative. Kant arrived to the principle of of the categorical imperative through analyzing the good will. The good will proves the idea that an action should be done for its own sake and not for its results. As Kant states, “ A good will is not good because of its effects or accomplishments...it is good within itself” (Kant 318). To rephrase, a good will is a will that is motivated out of duty, therefore meaning that it is intrinsically good. In addition, to be motivated out of duty means to have “no direct inclination” (Kant 319). In other words, one does not act out of duty because we have a tendency to do so, but rather because we know it is the rational choice. Kant specifically states that an action cannot be worthy if it is just “as a means to some end.” Which means that you are only doing an action because it is externally beneficial instead of internally good. An action is moral if it is done out…show more content…
Kant’s deontological ethics relies on acting out of duty, yet in my opinion one should additionally act out of feelings for other people. Kant seems to ignore the relationships created between humans that would impact duty. In this case of the lying promise, there is a relationship in that situation. If this person is willing to loan you money, that means that you have established a relationship with them. It also means that they trust you when you say that you will pay them back, even if you know it was a lie. The Formula of Universal Law does not focus on the potential feelings you could have towards the situation, but rather focuses on whether it is a possible or effective for your maxim to be a universal law. Yet let’s recast our maxim in conjunction with emotions. For example, my maxim could be ‘ When making a decision, I should not consult my emotions towards others’. Then we would cast it as a universal law ‘ When making a decision, no one should consult their emotions towards others’. This maxim would fail the third step because such a world would not be effective. In a world where no one has feelings towards others when making decisions, it would make everyone apathetic. While Kant would argue that deontological ethics does not focus on the consequences of an action, a world where no one acted upon emotions would be nonexistent. You

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