NAME: giving the correct change and acting honest


We have moral duties to do things which are right to do and moral duties not to do things which are wrong to do. Whether something is right or wrong does not depend on its consequences. Rather on the action itself. The rightness of an action according to Kant depends not on its consequences but on whether it accords with a moral rule, one that can be willed to be a universal law.Kant’s deontological theory on good will and duty states that the conception of the morally good will can be understood in terms of the concept of duty. He argues that to have a good will is to be motivated by duty.

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Suppose a shop keeper sells his goods at a fixed price, giving the correct change and acting honest in this way, of course this is the morally right thing to do. but it does not show that he has a good will, since acting like that is just in his self-interest, so we can act in accordance with duty but without being motivated by duty.There are two classes of duty: general duties we have towards anyone example, prohibitions such as do not lie, do not murder, but some may be positive like help people in need. Second there are duties we have because of our particular personal or social relationships. If you are a parent, you have the duty to provide for your children. Deontologists argue that there are times when we should not maximize the good, because doing so will be to violate a duty which means that our duty are quite limited, while there are number of things we may not do we are otherwise free to act as we please.

Kant held that nothing is good without qualification except a good will, and a good will is one that wills to act in accord with the moral law and out of respect for that law rather than out of natural inclinations. He saw this moral law as a categorical imperative i.e. an unconditional command and believed that its content could be established by human reason alone which means act only on that maximum through which you can at the same time the will become a universal law. Or so act that you treat humanity in your own person and in the person of everyone else always at the same time as an end and never merely as means.

He believed that because people are ends in themselves, we must always treat them as such, and never simply as a means, however he does not say we cannot use them as a means, but we can’t use them as only means, we rely on them in many ways as means to achieving what we want. Example people in a restaurant are a mean to getting what I want to buy; I also respect them as an end which is very important to Kant. To treat someone as means, and not as an end means that we should appeal to other peoples reason in discussing with them what to do. Rather than manipulate them in ways that they are unaware of.

Kant’s hypothetical imperatives have to do with what you ought to do on the basis of some desire or goal. Example if you want to attend a meeting you ought to get the at least some few minutes early. In this example the goal is explicit, but hypothetical can also leave the goal implicit e.g. eat at least an apple a day (if you want to stay healthy). Why can’t I just say ” I want to attend the meeting but refuse to get the on time” or ” I want to be health but refuse to eat an apple a day” why ought I to do these things given what I want? Kant argues that willing the end entails willing the means.

Kant’s explanation on value state that value is subjective. Sometimes value is not simple the value to other people as a means in relation to some purpose or desire they have. In conclusion, one of the biggest difficulties with Kantian ethics is that it discounts outcome as a valid factor in evaluating the moral worth of an action.

While it is not necessary wise to rely solely on outcome (as in utilitarianism) it is problematic to discount the outcome altogether.


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