Download An Introduction to Kant's Ethics by Roger J. Sullivan PDF

By Roger J. Sullivan

This is often the main up to date, short and available creation to Kant's ethics on hand. It techniques the ethical concept through the political philosophy, therefore permitting the reader to understand why Kant argued that the felony constitution for any civil society should have an ethical foundation. This strategy additionally explains why Kant proposal that our easy ethical norms should still function legislation of behavior for everybody. the quantity additionally contains a specific remark on Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant's most generally studied paintings of ethical philosophy.

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But if the Categorical Imperative is to function as both our necessary and our sufficient moral norm, it must also be able to identify our positive moral obligations, at least in very general terms. But positive maxims that ordinary people judge to be morally unacceptable do not necessarily generate contradictions in conjunction with themselves stated as universal laws. Kant had this problem in mind in his fourth example, in the second section of the Foundations. Here, a person whose life is flourishing adopts the maxim of simply ignoring everyone else (423).

When making decisions about our relationships with others, we obviously must take into account the fact that all human beings are dependent and vulnerable, with needs that constantly have to be met. It also is clearly rational for us to will the means to goals we may have. When everything is going well and our needs all are met, we may abjure dependence on others. But we know that there will come times in the future when, because we are not by nature self-sufficient, we all will have to rely on others.

To be an objective norm, the Categorical Imperative, like the Principle of Justice, must be based on reason alone (it must have what Kant called a "pure a priori foundation"). If that is so, we should be able to arrive at the moral law just by analyzing the Idea of a "rational being as such," that is, a perfectly rational agent (412-14, 426). ") Although we have no experience with a perfectly rational being, Kant thought that such a being obviously would have to be one who always thought rationally.

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