Kant offers that his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals “is nothing more than the identification and corroboration of the supreme principle of morality” (4:392). He maintains that people must use “practical philosophy”, or careful reasoning, in order to delineate the precise principle of human morality, which Kant later identifies and formulates as the categorical imperative. To understand this supreme principle of morality, Kant asserts the truth in two things: there exists morality, which regulates human behaviors and signifies good actions, and that this morality can be only understood through reason. Assuming that these are both true, it is not entirely clear what the ontological relationship is between human rationality and morality—whether
Thus, Kant considers free will as the main source of morality. Additionally, Kant insists on universal duties that human beings should follow. So this is called Categorical Imperative which is based on such principle as never treat anyone merely as a means to an end. Rather, treat everyone as an end in
This point also embraces the Kant 's idea that motivation of action is more important than consequences. Kant clarifies that consequences are not important, the primary thing in action is intentional. In this issue, it is not possible that all people help the hungry because of that they have these intentions. There is always one who says that nobody can blame me because of that I did not make them hungry. Moreover, Kant classifies the duty according to its certainty.
This course of action cannot simply be justified through consequentialist views such as the DDE, where the overall outcome is the only important decision factor. Non-consequentialist factors are of equal importance in the morality of an action. When viewing MacAskill’s cases and his response to the harm-based objection, it is important to consider the non-consequentialist, right-based theory of Libertarianism that maintains if an act violates a right, then it is morally wrong; individual rights are a fundamental element in deeming an action morally permissible. Libertarians do not focus on consequences when evaluating actions, instead believing that rights are so important that they must not be violated even to produce better consequences. This belief goes directly against the DDE, which evaluates an action solely based on the consequences produced.
As a Kantian, the ultimate goal is to focus on our maxims and not on how much pain or pleasure the act could possibly produce. So as a result, Kant would argue that Jim should not kill the Indian man, even if it would save the other Indian men. The reason why is because Kant does not believe in using people as mere means, it wouldn’t be considered a conceivable maxim, and it would be betraying a perfect duty. The definition of deontology is having the belief that you do what’s right because you have a moral duty. For Kant, his ethics are grounded on reason and pure reason alone.
The FH states. “So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means” (G 4:429). The idea behind the FH is that actions that are morally good contain in them an expression of respect for humanity as an end in itself, while morally bad actions do not contain this respect for humanity, and as such does not treat it as an end. It becomes important to recognize what it was that Kant meant when he was referring to ‘humanity’. Kant’s claims regarding humanity are not speciesist in favour of humans as one might interpret them, but rather is making a claim regarding a capacity for reason.
In this case, our mind is able perceive the knowledge that we obtain through different aspects but we must understand how it got this way. Kant believed that we view the world through these experiences and that the world is independent from these experience which therefore allows the limitation on what we know. He goes further beyond Hume’s empiricism and Descartes’ rationalism and states that, “Skepticism is thus a resting-place for human reason….But it is no dwelling-place for permanent settlement. Such can be obtained only through perfect certainty in our knowledge, alike of the objects themselves and of the limits within which all our
Immanuel Kant introduces the concept of the Categorical Imperative in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals as the supreme principle of morality. The supreme principle of morality, posits Kant, is a moral law that is universal, unconditional, and from where we can derive all morality; hence, it must be adequate to inform all moral conduct (G 4:417). In formulating the categorical imperative, Kant develops the Formula of Humanity, which is as follows; “so act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means” (G 4:429). The Formula of Humanity, then, is a candidate for the formulation of the supreme principle of morality. The Formula of Humanity
Furthermore, it would be impossible to follow every single rule because some rules can contradict to themselves. Around the 19th century there was a philosopher that believed the all moral rules are absolute with each other. His name was Immanuel Kant, he argued that lying in every circumstance is immoral. He believed that moral obligations do not depend on whether you want to do something or not. He thought that we should follow all moral obligations, no matter what we feel about it.
Kant provides a definition of the categorical imperative, “ A categorical imperative would be one that represented an action as itself objectively necessary, without regard to any further end” (Kant 337). In other words, a categorical imperative is a moral law that absolute in any test or situation, and does not depend on the end result or an ulterior motive. The Formula of Universal Law depends on the reasoning, “ Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant 330). This means that whatever your action is, it would be recast to apply to everyone.In this case the maxim is the rationality for doing an action, which has a end goal.A universal law means that everyone would behave the same way if your maxim was applied. Therefore, if your maxim could pass as a universal law then your action is moral, i.e., done out of duty.