OU PHIL 1273 - Kant Presentation (10 pages)

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Kant Presentation



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Kant Presentation

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Pages:
10
School:
The University of Oklahoma
Course:
Phil 1273 - Introduction to Business Ethics
Introduction to Business Ethics Documents
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Supplementary Information Kant Kant Vs Utilitarianis m Probably the easiest way to understand Kant is to see him as opposed to utilitarianism When making a moral judgement about an action Utilitarianism only considers consequences specifically happiness which they define as pleasure minus pain Kant is denying the relevance of consequences in general to moral considerations Instead he argues that only doing the right thing for the right reasons matters Kant Right Reasons One sensible reaction to hearing this would be to ask what he means by right reasons The short answer is You must do an action solely because it is the right action irregardless of its consequences Let s consider a thought experiment that illustrates what he means by this Kant Right Reasons Imagine that you just entered a giveaway for a Porche and the number on your raffle ticket happens to match the winning number However you just met a family whose children are starving and who is searching for the raffle that they dropped to see if they won You also know the family is planning to sell the car if they won so that they can feed their children Further you will be unable to give them the car because they are leaving right after this and the car which isn t there gets delivered to the winner s house Kant Right Reasons They proceed to ask you if you have seen their ticket Should you give them your ticket and lie by saying yes you saw them drop it earlier Kant would say no because lying is wrong You must tell them the truth that you are the winner of the raffle That way you are doing the right thing telling the truth for the right reasons because telling the truth is the right thing to do Lying is wrong because it s not good in and of itself You would be lying to ensure that the children eat However that is a consequence and is therefore of no moral value according to Kant Kant Right Actions Next we need to know what Kant means by the right thing The right thing to do in any circumstance is the action that is good in and of itself e g telling the truth is good in and of itself Let s consider a second thought experiement to illustrate what he means First assume that killing someone is wrong Now imagine that there is a person named Ed who is about to murder one million innocent people by firing a nucellar missile and the only way to stop them is to kill them Kant is saying that it doesn t matter how many people will die you can t kill Ed because killing is wrong Kant Consequences Bad How does Kant reach the conclusion that consequences are bad Let s walk through roughly what his argument is You can choose to do something heteronomously desires tastes or autonomously free will If you choose to do something for heteronomous reasons you are simply letting your desires and tastes drive you Kant Consequence s Bad Because you didn t choose what your desires and tastes are anytime you follow them you aren t acting freely This is what animals do Free will is the difference between us and animals We don t think of animals as moral agents Therefore free will is the basis of all morality Kant Consequences Bad There are two types of imperatives hypothetical and categorical Hypothetical imperatives HI have if then structures Categorical imperatives CI simply say Do this HIs always are after some end e g pleasure or desire satisfaction Finally this leaves only CIs as the moral choice No heteronomous choices are moral therefore all HIs are not moral Since these ends are always rooted in some pleasure seeking or desire fulfilment they will always be heteronomous Kant 2 Categorical Imperatives Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law Act in such a way that you treat humanity whether in your own person or in the person of any other never merely as a means to an end but always at the same time as an end


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