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Explain Kants Ethical theories Essay

Kant’s ethical theory is an absolute and deontological theory. This means that humans are seeking the ultimate end called the supreme good also known as the ‘summon Bonnum’. Kant says that morality is a categorical imperative, this is a duty which must always be obeyed in all possible situations. A categorical imperative is what is needed to find what is right or wrong. Kant argued that to act morally is to do one’s duty, and one’s duty is to obey the moral law.

Kant also believe that there was no room for emotion. Kant believe that categorical imperative helps us to know which actions are obligatory and which are forbidden. There are three principles within the categorical imperatives these include Universal law, Treat humans as ends In themselves and Act as if you live in a kingdom of ends. Universal law is putting minority views first. If it is wrong for one person than it is wrong for everyone. An action must not be carried out unless the person believes that the same situation all people would act in the same way.

Treat humans as ends in themselves is respecting a person. This means that you can never use human beings for another purpose or to exploit or enslave them, this is because humans are the highest point of creation and demand unique treatment. Act as if you live in a kingdom of ends, this means treat all with respect. Kant believed that all of these helped to create ‘maxims’. A maxim is an absolute moral statement about a universal truth. For example a maxim: Murder is wrong.

Therefore it is a universal rule that murdering anyone is wrong. Kant believes that we can only be true moral agents if we are free to make our own decisions. He argues that our freedom to make rational choices is what separates us from animals. He says that is you can do something, you should be able to do something, and if you cannot do something it is unfair to be asked. E.g. it is unfair to ask someone in a wheelchair to run a marathon.


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