Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.3 Deontological Ethics: Kant

2.3.1 Introduction

The pre-eminent ethical philosopher of Europe was always Immanuel Kant (Kӧnigsberg, Germay, 1724-1804). In his important text “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals,” he develops his deontological ethics, which has since been preeminent in continental Europe. These can be summarized by the statement “the only thing that is good without qualification is the good intention.”

The German criminal justice system is largely based on the assumption of good intentions. This is different from the German civil justice system. 

A similar attitude was present in old church justice: the desire for baptism can count as baptism in an emergency, for instance if the person to be baptized dies on their way there. 


2.3.2 Source:

The original text, Categorical Imperative, referenced to from The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals can be found at: https://yale.imodules.com/s/1667/images/gid6/editor_documents/life_worth_living/kant-groundwork.pdf?sessionid=a28308d7-9ce1-43cc-ac4d-654e8003318a&cc=1


2.3.3 Application/Discussion

Problem: tendency to become “do-gooders” (political correctness)

Despite Kant’s razor-sharp argumentation, an element of seeing reality through rose colored glasses is apparent.