Today we were supposed to read Chapter 5 from Brisch.

"Kantian Ethical Theory"

Rules and Actions are essential to Kantian ethics.
* The key idea is that, for any action, we can identify a personal rule that guides the action.
* An example woud be that you donate money to those less fortunate.
* You perform the action because you thought you should act from your personal rule: that everyone ought to help those who are less fortunate.
* The Kantian idea is that every action is guided by personal rule, and the Kantian theory states that if persons wan to be ethical the personal rules that guide their actions must be able to be willed to be moral laws.

Kantian Ethical Insight

  • The Kantian Ethical Insight is that there are moral laws and that these laws apply to all persons.
    • If the insight was filled out, it would state:
      • 1. there are moral laws connected to reason
      • 2. that all persons are equal in reguard to the moral law and should be treated consistently in sufficiently similar situations.

Kantians use a basic moral law, principle, ethical standard called the Categorical Imperative to determine legitimate rules or more specific moral laws that ought to guide action.

--This could be phrased as: Act only from those personal rules that you can at the same time will to be moral laws

Justification for the Ethical Standard and Strengths of the Theory
1.) Act only from those personal rules that you can at the same time will to be moral laws
2.) Act in regard to all persons in ways that treat them as ends in themselves and never simply as means to accomplish the ends of others.

Basic Ethical Themes
4 themes

  • First theme is represented by the question " what kind of moral guidelines make something good or bad: subjective, relative, or objective ones?"

-- Kantians believe good and bad are objective because they depend on or are the products of considerations of reason that do not depend on the perceptions, judgements, or emotions of particular persons or the beliefs of a particular society.

  • Another theme is listed in this question: "What makes something good or bad; is it the consequences that are produced or the responding that leads up to it?"
    • Kantian ethics assert that the rightness or wrongness of an action depends on whether or not the action was done because the personal rule that guided it could be willed to be a moral law.
  • The third theme is related to the question: "Are good and bad reated to following general rules without exceptions or connected to separately evaluating each action, belief, and so on?"
    • Kantians believe ethics involves following rules that could be willed to be moral laws. They allow no exceptions to acting from these rules; making an exception would mean that the moral agent had been inconsistent in acting from the moral law or that he or she had not treated persons as moral equals.
  • The fourth theme is connected to focus on ethical attention: "Should the group, community, or majority of persons be the focus of ethics or should the focus be on the individual?"
    • Kantians believe the focus of ethics should be the individual person, or rational being.
    • That each person must evaluate his or her personal rules of action and act from those that he or she could will to be moral laws
    • If individuals use reason correctly, however, everyone will arrive at the same set of legitimate rules of action.
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