Kantian Morality Essay

1063 words - 4 pages

Kantian Morality Kant's theory of morality seems to function as the most feasible in determining one's duty in a moral situation. The basis for his theory is perhaps the most noble of any-- acting morally because doing so is morally right. His ideas, no matter how occasionally vague or overly rigid, work easily and efficiently in most situations. Some exceptions do exist, but the strength of those exceptions may be somewhat diminished by looking at the way the actual situations are presented and the way in which they are handled. But despite these exceptions, the process Kant describes of converting maxims to universal laws to test their moral permissibility serves, in general, as a useful guide to and system of ethics and morality.The Kantian Theory of Ethics hinges upon the concept of the Categorical Imperative, or the process of universalization. Kant describes taking a possible action, a maxim, and testing whether it is morally permissible for a person to act in that manner by seeing if it would be morally permissible for all people in all times to act in that same manner. Thus, Kant says that an action is morally permissible in one instance if the action is universally permissible in all instances. In fact, parts of the theory even say that it is one's moral duty to act on these universalizable maxims, and that people should only act on those maxims that can be universalized.The stability of Kant's theory rests not only on the fact that it is completely objective-- every action is definitely either morally permissible or not-- but also on the fact that the theory is non-consequentialist. Kant truly does not look to the consequences of an action to see whether the action is morally permissible, but rather to the morality of the action itself.Kant assumes that universal morality is inherent in being, thus avoiding complications in trying to determine which actions lead to better consequences. However, Kant does not speak of perfect and imperfect moral duties, those duties that respectively do or do not involve qualifications as to the particulars of the situation at hand, thus complicating the issue.Several objections can be raised to the theory Kant sets forth, but each of them seems to stem from the thought that the theory cannot account for all actions and situations. Certain moral duties, for instance, are brought about by relying on more than just the Categorical Imperative and process of universalization, specifically on the subjective definitions of certain terms and ideas about what is and is not and of itself moral. Also, one might say that in some situations a maxim that can be universalized is still not morally permissible, while one that cannot be universalized is indeed permissible. In all these situations though, it seems at least somewhat possible to lessen the objection by taking a closer look at the situation, perhaps by changing or reexamining the maxims behind it.An example of one of these moral duties not derived entirely...

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