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'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty.' Explain how Kant analysed this concept.

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  • Essay length: 1355 words
  • Submitted: 05/09/2003
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AS and A Level Practical Questions

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Charlotte Martin

a) 'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty.' Explain how Kant analysed this concept.

'Duty should be done, simply because it is duty' implies, to quote F.H. Bradley, that duty should be done for 'duty's sake', and not for any consequential events. This approach to action is deontological, and concentrates solely on the process of an action (its means), not its possible outcome (its end).

Immanuel Kant's philosophy was based on deontological ethics- the idea that an action's claim to being right or wrong is independent of the consequences of that action. He believed that the consequences of an action offered no guide as to whether or not that action was moral, and was totally opposed to taking the consequences of an action into account. He wanted to develop a theory of ethics that relied on reason, as opposed to emotion- a theory that was universal, and could not be obscured by religion or personal interpretation. Kant took both rationalism and empiricism, and examined the good points of each. He thought that rationalists claimed too much for reason, and the empiricists emphasised sense experience too much. He thought that all our knowledge

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