Give an account of Kant’s ethical theory
Immanuel Kant was an eighteenth century German philosopher, whose views on moral ethics continue to be influential today. The ethical theory that he is famous for, is based on the deontological point of view (deontological meaning where the act itself has moral value regardless of the consequences.) In his theory, Kant dismisses emotions such as pity and compassion, as he believed that these feeling are irrelevant to morality, and Kant believed that making a choice that is focused on positive emotions (e.g. on fulfilling our feelings and desires) is irrelevant and comes in the way of making a morally correct decision. His belief of going against emotion, goes against moral relativism, as moral relativism is when a morally good act is entirely dependent on the circumstances where said act takes place, instead believing in the necessity of a perfectly universal moral law.
Human reasoning was a significant area of ethical study for Kant. Kant’s views were in response to the empiricists and rationalists, with the rationalists beliefs being closer to his than the empiricists. (The rationalists attempted to prove that we can understand the world purely be using our reasoning, while empiricists argued that all of our knowledge comes from experience.)
Kant believed that the only way we gain knowledge of the world is through our senses, and that us humans will never experience the true reality of the world as we experience it through our own minds, of which different categories of thought have been built into, which led him to believe that all scientific knowledge discovered, is only facts about our own experiences and perceptions. However, as the categories within our brain are objective, we can be sure in our reasoning in deciding what is right and what is wrong.
Kant’s understanding on the concept of goodwill and duty help form the basis for his moral theory. According to Kant, ‘good will’ is the only factor which is relevant...