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Kantian Ethics Exam Questions Lesson Intentions: • I have answered at least 3 past exam questions on Kantian ethics. • I have peer marked other members of my classes exam questions. Success Criteria • I am confident about answering a question on Kantian Ethics. Kantian ethics has only come up twice in the last 5 years of Higher RMPS. 1. What is meant by “respect of persons” in Kantian Ethics? 3KU 1. What is meant by “respect of persons” in Kantian Ethics? 3KU • The second formulation of the Categorical Imperative • A moral act will not use people as means to an end • Treat people with dignity • Don’t exploit people. 1. Sample Answer Respect for persons is a key principle of Kantian ethics. Respect for persons is part of the Categorical Imperative, the formula Kant designed to make ethical decisions. In Kantian ethics it is important that any moral act does not use people as means as an end. This means that people should be treated with dignity and not be exploited. 2. In Kantian Ethics, what is the Categorical Imperative? 3KU 2. In Kantian Ethics, what is the Categorical Imperative? 3KU • • • • • Moral absolute Universal law Examples can be used Humans reason can work it out from nature One of the key principles alongside not using people as a means to an end and assuming the role of lawmaker. 2. Sample Answer 2. In Kantian Ethics, what is the Categorical Imperative? 3KU The Categorical Imperative is a key principle of Kantian ethics. It means a moral action must be absolute. It should be able to be applied as universal law e.g. Killing is always wrong. Human beings must use reason to work out what is right or wrong. People should not be used as a means to an end. By applying these rules people can become law makers of morality. 3. State the key principles of Kantian Ethics? 4KU 3. State the key principles of Kantian Ethics? 4KU • • • • • • • • Use of people as means to an end. Universal maxim Categorical imperative Moral absolutes Duty Respect for moral laws. Use of human reason Act in a way that you are the legislator – the law maker. 3. Sample Answers The key principles of Kantian ethics are to treat people with respect e.g. they should not be used as a means to an end. In order to make a moral decision the Categorical Imperative can be used. This means moral laws should be applied to everyone and can be applied universally in every circumstance. He focused on someone's sense of duty, meaning what they feel they ought to do they must do. He emphasised the importance of human reason in making ethical decisions over emotion. 4. In what ways can duty be seen as the basis of ethical decision-making? 5KU 4. In what ways can duty be seen as the basis of ethical decision-making? 5ku • • • • • • • • • • • Kantian ethics is based upon the teachings of the philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724– 1804) consisting of the importance of duty, good will and the categorical imperative. Kant’s theory of ethics is deontological meaning that an action is good or bad, right or wrong by something within the action itself. Focus is on the morality of actions and disregards the consequences of an action. It is absolute since the morality of an action takes no regard of the situation it is in. Stress on duty and obligation - to Kant, the concept of “motive” is the most important factor in determining what is ethical. More specifically, Kant argued that a moral action is one that is performed out of a “sense of duty”, i.e. ‘this is what I must/should do’. Grounded in the highest form of good will. To have good will is to perform one’s duty and not by considering the consequences. It is good-in-itself. Good-will fostered by a human being acting rationally- using reason. Importance of intention motive is reason not action, eliminating any notion of emotions which undermine rational decision-making. The categorical imperative helps us to know which actions are obligatory and which are forbidden. For Kant, the only moral imperatives were categorical: ‘I should to do x”, with no reference to desires or needs. Universal principle. "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" Humans as ends - not merely as means Sample Answer Duty can be used as a basis of ethical decision making through Kantian Ethics. These ethics put forward by Immanuel Kant are deontological meaning that an action is good or bad, right or wrong by something within the action itself. Morality in this case is absolute as the moral action is right or wrong regardless of different situations. Duty comes into Kantian ethics by what you ought to do is what you should do. Your good will is your motive behind the action. Kantian ethics emphasise using human reason rather than emotion when making a decision. It is someone’s duty not to treat people as a means to an end.