Kant's Theory of Moral Duty: An Analysis

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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. only the…show more content…
A rich person publicly donates all his wealth and belongings to the poor just to be recognized as a good person in the society. So, was this act morally just? For Kant donating to charity anonymously may well be dutiful whereas donating to charity very publicly in order to receive the admiration from others is not dutiful but inclined. "In order for an action to have moral worth, it must be done from the motive of duty" - Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Kant would also say it is not a morally dubious act; it 's simply not a moral act of any kind. A dutiful act is that which is done primarily with regard to the moral code. Kant contrasts acts of duty and acts of inclination primarily as follows - dutiful acts are the only genuine examples of morally good behavior. Acts of inclination, on the other hand, are usually amoral (neither good nor bad) unless performing an inclined act is done at the expense of a morally good dutiful one, in which case it would be immoral. Now, Bentham’s objection to the scenario mentioned above would be since the action was successful in maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain, it is morally good. As a result of this donation, thousands of poor people were fed with food and were given daily groceries free of cost. Hence, this action was successful in maximizing the overall utility of the people who received the benefits. Hence, this action is morally
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