Posted: June 20th, 2022


This week we continue our exploration of ethics by picking up with the second half of Chapter Twelve on Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy.  In your discussions this week, you might want to consider the following questions.  Do you agree with Kant that the only thing good in itself is a good will?  Is his argument in support of this claim persuasive (the last paragraph on p. 325 of the supplementary reading)?  Do you agree that acting morally is a matter of acting out of a sense of duty, rather than in accordance with one’s inclinations or desires?

Try to understand the categorical imperative, as it is expressed on p. 330, and apply it to different examples to see how it helps us distinguish betwen moral and immoral conduct.  Also, what do you think about what your text calls the “practical imperative” on p. 332?  What would be some examples of ways in which that principles is violated–i.e., what does it mean to treat someone merely as a means rather than as an end?

Finally, and more generally, do you find any aspect of Kant’s ethics to be particulary attractive or particularly problematic?

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