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Did Kant believe that there should be different rules for different people depending on their circumstances or one fixed set of rules for everyone?
- One set of fixed rules that applt to everyone in any situation
- (a universal absolute moral law)
What human ability did Kant think was universal?
The power to reason, which may be clouded by emotion
Was Kant concerned about a person's intention or not?
Yes, Kant was concerned about a person's intention
What is the 'moral law within'?
The ability that everyone has to use reason to determine how they ought to behave in a situation
What did Kant believe was the only pure motive?
What did Kant believe was the only acceptable reason for putting good will into action?
A sense of duty
GOOD WILL + DUTY = ?
A MORAL ACTION
What are the three main ideas about morality, as put forward by Kant
- 1. Human reason determines moral truths
- 2. Individual freedom and autonomy are good
- 3. Everyone has a sense of duty or obligation to act morally
What is transcendental idealism?
Kant's theory that humans construct knowledge by imposing universal concepts onto sensory experiences
What is a priori?
Something that can be known, without having experienced it
Was Kant a relativist?
Why is happiness as a basis of morality subjective?
Because what makes you happy one day might not make you happy the next day or might not make another person happy
Did Kant believe the essence of moral truth was objective or subjective?
Define: Moral laws
Rules that determine how you should act based on a maxim
What is an autonomous individual?
A person who is free to choose
How did Kant believe humans could receive God's laws?
Through reason rather than direct revelation
A moral principle, subjective in origin, which demands practical application that can be deduced by all rational human beings
Define: categorical imperative
Something human beings are duty bound to do, whatever the circumstances
What is the 'Kingdom of Ends'?
- an idea derived from Kant's categorical imperative
- an ideal community in which all citizens are at once the authors and subjects of all laws.
- In this community, the only possible laws are laws that could apply to all rational beings.
For example if one person lies it is okay for everyone to lie
What are the three moral bases for Categorical imperative?
1. 'Act only on that maxim whereby which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law'
2. 'So act to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other, in every case at the same time as an end, never as a means only'
3. 'Act according to the maxims of a member of a merely possible Kingdom of Ends legislating in it universally
What is the universal law principle?
The idea that laws ought to develop from the application of maxims in life
What is universalizability?
- If something is right in all situations at all times then it is universalizable
- This is how maxims can be tested to see if they should become an ethical rule
What is the principle of humanity as an end not a means?
all human beings are equal regardless of their power. It is wrong to use someone as a means to an end, even when that end is moral
What is the hypothetical imperative?
The actions that a person takes in order to achieve a purpose. These actions are not universally applicable (due to personal circumstances). The person may realise that they cannot achieve the puropse, for practical reasons
What is the difference between categorical and hypothetical imperative?
- Something can only be a categorical imperative if it is universalisable and based on morality
- hypothetical imperative relates to what actions a person can make due to personal circumstances (not universalizable)
Link up the terms:
categorical imperative = deontological
hypothetical imperative = teleological
What is another word for duty based philosophy?
What are the strengths of a deontological approach?
- Takes account of the responsibility that we have to others
- recognises the universability of morality
What are the weaknesses of a deontological approach?
- - Duties conflict and it may not be possible to satisfy all the duties you have
- - We may feel like we have the duty to do things that we don't necessarily need to do
What is an 'extreme duty'?
To perform an action/duty at the cost to oneself. Rejecting happiness as a basis for moral decision making
List the duties that Kant believed we had to oneself as a moral being (3)
- - against avarice (greed for wealth)
- - against lying
- - against servility (acting in a manner that undermines oneself)
List the duties that Kant believed we had to oneself as an animal being (4)
- - against suicide
- - against drunkenness
- - against lust
- - against gluttony
List the duties that Kant believed we had to others (2)
- to respect individuals as equals
- to love by beneficence (generosity)
Define: summum bonum
The highest good, which is only achieveable in the moral community
How did Kant believe conflicts could be resolved?
by implementing ethical principles in the moral system
What does the summum bonum consist of?
The resolution of two different ends, which are moral goodness and righteousness.
When did Kant say most people will achieve summum bonum?
After death, as people struggle to resolve these ends in life
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