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Some basics about Kant and his moral theory A Introduction 1 Definition Kantianism is a deontological moral theory which claims that the right action in any given situation is determined by the categorical imperative 2 History Developed by Immanuel Kant whose moral theory is stated in his book The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals Kant was German and lived from 1724-1804 He is arguably the greatest philosopher since Aristotle 3 What is a deontological moral theory This is a moral theory which denies that the morally right action is determined by its consequences An action may be right even if it leads to a situation that is not the best possible situation it may be right even if it leads to one of the worst situations A deontological theory claims that the right action is determined by what the agents ie the person doing the action duty is It further claims that one should always do what it is ones duty to do B Morality and imperatives What does it mean for ones duty to be determined by the categorical imperative 1 What is an imperative An imperative is a command So Pay your taxes is an imperative as are Stop kicking me and Dont kill animals 2 What is a categorical imperative A categorical imperative is a command that applies to everyone and is impossible to opt out of A categorical imperative is contrasted with a hypothetical imperative which is a command that applies to only some people For example a drill sergeant yells forward march - that command applies to only those people under his command a civilian nearby can ignore the command
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