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Analyse the Important Factors of Either Deontology or Natural Moral Law

Autor:   •  November 4, 2017  •  1,006 Words (5 Pages)  •  352 Views

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In this situation the shopkeeper could have taken more money than he should have but let us assume that he didn’t. Now, was his behaviour good (i.e. not taking advantage of you)? Kant says it depends. If he took the right money because he thought you more likely to come back to buy more, or tell your friends to go there, then Kant says he is not doing good. Yes, he is honest but his motive is not good. The good will is acting from a good motive, acting from a sense of law or duty.

To achieve good will the shop keeper should have charge you the correct price with no intentions.

This example is an important factor of deontology because it helps show people an example of how they would live if they were a deontologist.

Another important factor of deontology is categorical imperatives. This decides whether something ought to be obeyed and whether it always applies to everyone. Kant believes that we need to work out categorical imperatives to work out how to be moral. Categorical imperatives are the unconditional moral principle that one’s behaviour should accord with universalizable maxims. Kant doesn’t believe that our empirical senses give us reliable data and therefore we must have laws or maxims.

The laws/Maxims are not true their meaning i.e. analytic, and they cannot be determined through empirical experience an a posteriori argument. A rational being has to determine the synthetic, a priori rules that can be applied to their lives.

There are two ways to work out if an action is a categorical imperative. The action you are about to perform has to be universalizable, or it would not be good.

For example if you are about to lie, you must decide whether it is possible for the while world to lie. Although it is always possible for everyone to always lie. People wouldn’t believe the lie. No one could say anything and make someone else believe it.

If you cannot universalise the action, then the categorical imperative is not to perform the action.

Kant says “Act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time, will that it should become universal law.”

So if you don’t want everyone to do it, don’t do it yourself.

The other way of finding out the categorical imperative is to decide whether the action will reduce someone’s rationality. You cannot use a person as a means to an end. By reducing their rationality you are almost controlling what they do.

Deontology was more recently picked up by Charles Fried in the 1970s when he used Davis’ work to express his own view. "Ordinary moral understanding, as well as many major traditions of Western moral theory, recognize that there are some things which a moral man will not do, no matter what.”

Davis also states “They do not say: ‘Avoid lying, other things being equal’, but ‘Do not lie, period’".


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