Kant 's Impact On Ethics

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Immanuel Kant was an intelligent, well-known German philosopher during the Enlightenment era of the late 18th century. During this enthusiastic time period, there emerged a strong belief in the ability of human reason to help understand the world and solve its numerous problems- including ethical ones. Kant’s contribution to ethics has been very substantial, and although ethics is the field he’s had the most profound impact on, Kant also spent his time working in other areas, such as metaphysics and epistemology. Metaphysics is defined as “the branch of philosophy that deals with abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space” (Wikipedia). During his time spent studying epistemology, Kant investigated …show more content…

While Kantian ethical theory provided some crucial moral insights and strict guidelines that follow, it at times seems inappropriate to deal with the complex reality that may arise in many ethical issues. Kant firmly believed that the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether or not our duty is fulfilled. Kant believed that the Categorical Imperative was “the supreme principal of morality, and determined what our moral duties are” (Kantian Ethics). The Categorical Imperative is expressed as, “acting only on a maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (“Internet”). A maxim is defined as a rule or principle on which you act. The command basically stated that you are not allowed to do anything that you wouldn’t allow everyone else to do. In other words, one is not able to make an exception of oneself. For example, if one expects others not to steal from one, one is not allowed to steal from anyone else. More precisely, it stated that every maxim one acts on must be one that one is willing to argue that everyone would act on if one was in a similar situation. For instance, if one wants to lie to get something one wants, one would have to be willing to argue that everyone lies to get what he or she wants. This makes the maxim universal. At first it may seem confusing to understand what it means for one’s duty to be determined by the categorical imperative. An imperative is

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