Give an account of Kants theory of ethics.

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Elle Graham                Kant – Deontology essay

Give an account of Kant’s theory of ethics. [33]

Immanuel Kant’s was a German philosopher during the eighteenth century. His theory of ethics is deontological, ‘deon’ meaning duty. Therefore, the basic of the ethic is duty.

        Kant said that morality must be completely self-contained and independent from any other view and he believed that this morality could only be found in a priori reason, (priori meaning before experience). This is a reasoning, which establishes basic principles.

        In the sense of duty, acting out of self-interest is wrong for Kant. For example, being honest because doing so helps your business, or acting out of love or sympathy is insufficient. This is acting to satisfy yourself and therefore it is a selfish act. Inclinations or desires are therefore not complete as you are being self-interested rather than moral. Kant said that only morality motivated by itself could satisfy him. You have to be moral, purely because being moral is the right thing to do. Kant believed that you command yourself to act morally, innately. For him, the principles of ethics are self-governing of religion and also that every individual is morally autonomous and can make their own moral decisions.

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        From the above, Kant developed his thoughts on goodwill, which he believed to be the sole intrinsic good. He said that it is good in itself and requires no further qualification. As Kant said, “the good will shines forth like a precious jewel”. In deontology, good will is the highest form of good and it is not dependant on decisions that we come to. 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 ...

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