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Monday, 24 September 2012

3 minute philosophy - #immanuelkant

in summary

- 18th century german philosopher most noticeable for his work on ethics

- ethics is the philosophical study of moral actions - not just about judging people per se but rather looking at right and wrong as concepts in themselves and how we might figure out the best way for people to behave

- there are 2 general schools of thought on this

- consequentialism - divides right from wrong entirely on the consequences of an action - in other words does the end justify the means

- deontology on the other hand says the consequences don't really matter as moral judgement is contained in the act alone - kant was with this approach

- and suggested an absolute unbreakable moral law that he called the categorical imperative - based on kant's idea that morality is derived from rationality and all moral judgements are rationally supported - so their is an objective morality just as rational thought leas us to an objective reality

the imperative holds up regardless of context and circumstance - what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong full stop

- the imperative can be broken down into 3 maxims
1) all your actions must have universality (you should only do something if you think it would be OK if everybody did it all the time)
2) every human being must be treated as and end rather than a means to an end 9so you can't manipulate anybody no matter what - so you can never lie) - this stands in stark contracts to consequentialist theories that take into account the greater good
3) you should always behave as if you were the absolute moral authority of the whole universe

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