Moral self knowledge in kantian ethics

Co-authored with Timothy Reilly, Ph. Virtue is an important topic for psychology, philosophy, and business management because it is concerned with moral excellence and ethical behaviours that are crucial for the well-being and flourishing of individuals and communities. The real challenge for any moral theory is whether it has the practical value of helping people live as ethical, decent human beings in daily concrete situations. The first challenge was how to live with a sense of human dignity and significance even when one was facing unimaginable degradation, atrocities, and a cruel death; the other challenge was how to prevent anyone in a position of power from becoming a monster like Hitler.

Moral self knowledge in kantian ethics

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Critique of Moral self knowledge in kantian ethics Reasonhe proposed a "Table of the Categories of Freedom in Relation to the Concepts of Good and Evil," using the familiar logical distinctions as the basis for a catalog of synthetic a priori judgments that have bearing on the evaluation of human action, and declared that only two things inspire genuine awe: Kant used ordinary moral notions as the foundation ffor a derivation of this moral law in his Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals From Good Will to Universal Law We begin with the concept of that which can be conceived to be good without qualification, a good will.

Other good features of human nature and the benefits of a good life, Kant pointed out, have value only under appropriate conditions, since they may be used either for good or for evil.

But a good will is intrinsically good; its value is wholly self-contained and utterly independent of its external relations. Since our practical reason is better suited to the development and guidance of a good will than to the achievement of happinessit follows that the value of a good will does not depend even on the results it manages to produce as the consequences of human action.

Kant's moral theory is, therefore, deontological: The clearest examples of morally right action are precisely those in which an individual agent's determination to act in accordance with duty overcomes her evident self-interest and obvious desire to do otherwise.

But in such a case, Kant argues, the moral value of the action can only reside in a formal principle or "maxim," the general commitment to act in this way because it is one's duty. So he concludes that "Duty is the necessity to act out of reverence for the law.

Moral self knowledge in kantian ethics

So the only relevant feature of the moral law is its generality, the fact that it has the formal property of universalizabilityby virtue of which it can be applied at all times to every moral agent. From this chain of reasoning about our ordinary moral concepts, Kant derived as a preliminary statement of moral obligation the notion that right actions are those that practical reason would will as universal law.

Imperatives for Action More accurate comprehension of morality, of course, requires the introduction of a more precise philosophical vocabulary.

Kant, Immanuel | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Although everything naturally acts in accordance with law, Kant supposed, only rational beings do so consciously, in obedience to the objective principles determined by practical reason. So we experience the claim of reason as an obligationa command that we act in a particular way, or an imperative.

Such imperatives may occur in either of two distinct forms, hypothetical or categorical. A hypothetical imperative conditionally demands performance of an action for the sake of some other end or purpose; it has the form "Do A in order to achieve X.

For a perfectly rational being, all of this would be analytic, but given the general limitations of human knowledge, the joint conditions may rarely be satisfied.

A categorical imperative, on the other hand, unconditionally demands performance of an action for its own sake; it has the form "Do A. The supreme principle of morality must be a synthetic a priori proposition. Leaving its justification for the third section of the Grounding and the Second CritiqueKant proceeded to a discussion of the content and application of the categorical impetative.

The Categorical Imperative Constrained only by the principle of universalizability, the practical reason of any rational being understands the categorical imperative to be: This expression of the moral law, Kant maintained, provides a concrete, practical method for evaluating particular human actions of several distinct varieties.

Moral self knowledge in kantian ethics

Consider, for example, the case 2 in the text of someone who contemplates relieving a financial crisis by borrowing money from someone else, promising to repay it in the future while in fact having no intention of doing so.

Notice that this is not the case of finding yourself incapable of keeping a promise originally made in good faith, which would require a different analysis. The maxim of this action would be that it is permissible to borrow money under false pretenses if you really need it.

But as Kant pointed out, making this maxim into a universal law would be clearly self-defeating. The entire practice of lending money on promise presupposes at least the honest intention to repay; if this condition were universally ignored, the universally false promises would never be effective as methods of borrowing.

Since the universalized maxim is contradictory in and of itself, no one could will it to be law, and Kant concluded that we have a perfect duty to which there can never be any exceptions whatsoever not to act in this manner.

On the other hand, consider the less obvious case 4 in the text of someone who lives comfortably but contemplates refusing any assistance to people who are struggling under great hardships.

The maxim here would be that it is permissible never to help those who are less well-off than ourselves. Although Kant conceded that no direct contradiction would result from the universalization of such a rule of conduct, he argued that no one could consistently will that it become the universal law, since even the most fortunate among us rightly allow for the possibility that we may at some future time find ourselves in need of the benevolence of others.

Here we have only an imperfect duty not act so selfishly, since particular instances may require exceptions to the rule when it conflicts either with another imperfect duty e. Kant also supposed that moral obligations arise even when other people are not involved. Since it would be contradictory to universalize the maxim of taking one's own life if it promises more misery than satisfaction 1he argued, we have a perfect duty to ourselves not to commit suicide.

And since no one would will a universalized maxim of neglecting to develop the discipline required for fulfilling one's natural abilities 3we have an imperfect duty to ourselves not to waste our talents. These are only examples of what a detailed application of the moral law would entail, but they illustrate the general drift of Kant's moral theory.

The essence of immorality, then, is to make an exception of myself by acting on maxims that I cannot willfully universalize. It is always wrong to act in one way while wishing that everyone else would act otherwise.

The perfect world for a thief would be one in which everyone else always respected private property. Thus, the purely formal expression of the categorical imperative is shown to yield significant practical application to moral decisions. Alternative Formulae for the Categorical Imperative Although he held that there is only one categorical imperative of morality, Kant found it helpful to express it in several ways.

Some of the alternative statements can be regarded as minor variations on his major themes, but two differ from the "formula of universal law" sufficiently to warrant a brief independent discussion. Kant offered the "formula of the end in itself" as:Immanuel Kant (–) is the central figure in modern philosophy.

He synthesized early modern rationalism and empiricism, set the terms for much of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, and continues to exercise a significant influence today in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and other fields.

In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek δέον, deon, "obligation, duty") is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules, rather than based on the consequences of the action..

It is sometimes described as "duty-" or "obligation-" or "rule-" based ethics, because. The history of Western ethics Ancient civilizations to the end of the 19th century The ancient Middle East and Asia.

The first ethical precepts must have been passed down by word of mouth from parents and elders, but as societies learned to use the written word, they began to set down their ethical beliefs.

These records constitute the first historical evidence of the origins of ethics. Immanuel Kant. Towards the end of his most influential work, Critique of Pure Reason(/), Kant argues that all philosophy ultimately aims at answering these three questions: “What can I know?What should I do?

What may I hope?” The book appeared at the beginning of the most productive period of his career, and by the end of his life Kant had worked out systematic, revolutionary, and. O’Hagan tells us that Kant’s duty of moral self-knowledge is the duty to know one’s own heart.

Kant tells us that moral self-knowledge is quite difficult because it involves abstracting, or taking a non-biased analysis of one’s self. Note on the Text. The lectures presented herein were first published between in volumes in the first edition of Hegel's schwenkreis.com were edited by Hegel's former student, Karl Ludwig Michelet.

Kantian ethics - Wikipedia