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Kants Ethics In the Metaphysics of Ethics 1797 Kant described his ethical system which is based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality Actions of any sort he believed must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason and no action performed for expediency or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral Kant described two types of commands given by reason The first was hypothetical imperative which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end and the categorical imperative which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity The categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant as Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a general natural law Kants broke his rule based ethics down into two parts The first being hypotheticalimperative reason It is a method in which we try to attainan end such as happiness The hypothetical imperative includes the ability to lie under certain circumstances when it is prudent The hypothetical imperative also exerts heteronomy of the will in that the will is following desire which is dictating to the will what to do The categorical imperative requires the autonomy of the will as the categorical imperative requires that we make choices to follow universal laws and that we are not doing something because we will get something else from it Kant emphasizes the importance of rationality in being moral by calling moral beings rational beings To find what is moral through the categorical imperative requires reason and logic and for the consequences of an action for be thoroughly thought through This requires that a rational being have a certain set of similar characteristics A rational being must firstly be rational logical and objective not led about by desire and moral feeling He must also
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