By Roger J. Sullivan

This is often the main up to date, short and available creation to Kant's ethics to be had. It ways the ethical concept through the political philosophy, therefore permitting the reader to understand why Kant argued that the criminal constitution for any civil society should have an ethical foundation. This process additionally explains why Kant suggestion that our uncomplicated ethical norms should still function legislation of behavior for everybody. the quantity additionally features a certain statement on Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant's most generally studied paintings of ethical philosophy.

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The personal domain, by contrast, is much richer, for it includes the internal forum, that is, moral character, which is defined by internal law-giving. A person of good moral character is one who not only does what is right but does so from the spe24 Kant's Political Theory cifically ethical motive of dutifulness: because it is the dutiful thing to do. ) Because all such duties are subject only to se//-legislation and self-constraint, Kant called them "duties of inner freedom/' Finally, our personal ethical life also extends beyond mainly negative and universal moral duties to include significant positive and particular obligations.

We also saw this in Kant's defense of the Principle of Justice: to deny that principle results in a practical incoherency. A morally good person is therefore one who does not act except in ways in which every other good person may act. Applied to human agents, who can recognize the obligatory nature of the moral law but are affected by sensuous desires 35 An Introduction to Kant's Ethics and can still choose to act contrary to it, that law must be stated as an imperative (412-13). " THE DUAL ROLE OF THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE To avoid any possible confusion here, we need to be clear about the fact that the moral law has two different functions: to command our obedience and to test possible maxims.

But positive maxims that ordinary people judge to be morally unacceptable do not necessarily generate contradictions in conjunction with themselves stated as universal laws. Kant had this problem in mind in his fourth example, in the second section of the Foundations. Here, a person whose life is flourishing adopts the maxim of simply ignoring everyone else (423). He will neither contribute to nor detract from their welfare, and he is willing to have everyone else treat him in exactly the same fashion.

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