• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Kants theory is often called cold and unemotional Discuss

Extracts from this document...


?Kant?s theory is often called cold and unemotional? Discuss [25 marks] ?Two things, above all others, fill the mind with ever increasing awe and wonder: the starry heavens about and the moral law within? - Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant?s theory of ethics is deontological. Kant relies heavily on duty and principles. Kant ignores consequences and decides if an action is good or bad by it?s intention. For example, if a person sets out to do something good; but fails and it turns into be something bad, they are not to blame. Their intention is all that matters. Kant focuses on what should be done, rather than doing things for their outcome. This means that even if something terrible happens as the result of a morally good action, it is still morally right. Kant had an absolute view that the right moral action must always be done. Kant tried to make moral ethics scientific through universalisation. Just as the law of gravity is universal, Kant believed so should the ?law? of ethics. ...read more.


It is only categorical imperatives which are moral, as hypothetical imperatives aren?t universal and are of an impure motive. For this reason, hypothetical imperatives are linked with our heteronomous will, and categorical with our autonomous will. The categorical imperatives are always moral, because they a based on an a priori, objective law of reason. A priori means we can know it without any source of experience. Reason is an innate sense in which most humans seem to have. To make sure our categorical imperative is truly moral, they must also fit the 3 formulations. The imperative must be universal. This means that it would be okay if everyone acted in the same way when in the same situation. Everybody should act on the same maxim. Kant used the example of never breaking a promise, which he described as universal. He also described a man who borrowed money with no intention of repayment. This would make promises impossible, and so is it always wrong to break a promise and lie. ...read more.


WD Ross made exceptions to Kant?s theories, and that duties should have exceptions. He called these prima facie duties, which are conditional. Duties can be outweighed by more riveting duties, such as ?never kill? could be outweighed by ?never kill except in self defence?. Ross adapted Kant?s theory to take the situation, consequences and relationships into account. Many prefer this adaptation, as it is much more emotional and practical. Kant?s theory is much easier to practice inside the mind that in the real world. It seems a good idea until it is applied to sensitive situations which require delicacy. If an outcome between the categorical imperative and hypothetical imperative is the same, is it important which will is followed? Kant said, ?Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness?. This suggests that it is important to follow the categorical imperative, not because of the outcome, but more because it?s out duty to do so. Many would, however, disagree and argue that all actions revolve around their consequences. As seen in nature, everything has a purpose, and so should our actions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. Explain Kant's ethical theory

    According to Kant it is only the 'good will' which is relevant in moral decisions, regardless of what is desirable. The will is in our control and can exercise pure practical reason to tell us what 'ought' to be done.

  2. Compare Utilitarianism With Kant's Theory of The Categorical Imperative And Explain Which You Think ...

    despite your best efforts, your binds won't come lose, then you are acting in the only way you can. As you don't have the option to help your friend, then you are not immoral for just watching. However, if you were to find your binds were lose, and thus, you

  1. Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Kants Ethical Theory

    This doesn't necessarily make the action right. Therefore Kant's ethical theory recognizes these actions are wrong and are never allowed, it therefore inevitably also appreciates human rights, and it gives guidance. Furthermore it is always based on distributive justice, unlike other theories such as Utilitarianism which simply rules out the possibility of the minority being virtuous and right.

  2. Explain Kant's Categorical Imperative.

    Kant (1797) Kant argued that morality is prescriptive as it prescribes moral behaviour. If you are aware of a moral requirement, the awareness is a reason for doing something. Moral statements are categorical in that they prescribe actions irrespective of the result.

  1. “Without real freedom there would be no ethical decisions to make,” Discuss.

    In reality we are unable to control them, but we are completely conscious of them. If we are experiencing these ethical decisions and as far as we are aware, making them through choice, then we are accepting the moral responsibility for them and seeing that it is us that is to blame for them.

  2. Austin's theory of law is based on coercio

    This form differed from Bentham's, who proposed that sanctions could also include rewards as well as penalties. Austin rejected this idea and stated that a reward for compliance would indicate a promise or inducement but not a command, which in the technical sense specifies a non-optional conduct or an implicit threat of coercion.

  1. Give an account of Kants theory of ethics.

    So, it establishes the means by which we should proceed, not the end. Kant then tried to establish a set of principles, to answer that willing the good depends on knowing what the good is and means. He spoke of imperatives, or types of command, as this is where he says that the mind commands itself.

  2. Natural Moral Law - in theory and in practice.

    This combines with the doctrine of double effect which refers to situations where there is an intended outcome which results in an unintended negative outcome. It is claimed that it is sometimes permissible to cause such harm as a side effect of bringing about a good result.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work