We are still addressing the question
of HOW we should be moral
What is the opposite of
1724 - 1804, German philosopher
An approach to ethics that judges the morality
of an action based on the rightness or
wrongness of the action itself, not on the
consequence of the action.
The morality of the action is also based on a
strong sense of duty and following rules.
What does Kant say?
• In order to act in a morally correct way,
people must act from duty.
• The consequences of an action don’t
make it right or wrong. Rather, it is the
motive of the person doing the action,
and the action itself that determines
whether it is morally right.
Why can’t the consequences
of an action tell us whether it
is right or wrong?
What are some faults/shortcomings of
So how do we know whether
an action is moral according to
The Categorical Imperative
"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the
same time will that it should become a universal law
"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your
own person or in the person of any other, always at the
same time as an end and never merely as a means to an
"Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were
through his maxim always a legislating member in the
universal kingdom of ends."
What does this mean?
1. Only do things that you wish everyone
else in the world to do too
2. Don’t take advantage of other people
How is Deontology Different
Think of the major differences between
the two philosophies.
Are you a Utilitarian or
In the following scenarios, do you agree
or disagree with the statement?
Why do you think your answer is moral?
A family of five people runs to the door
of your house and says they need
protecting because a crazy man is
trying to kill them. You hide them in the
house. Three minutes later, the crazy
man asks if the family is hidden in your
ask. What do you say?
You graduated from Sun Yat-sen
University with a degree in Finance.
But…you’re lazy and just want to work
part-time as a 饺子 maker. Is it OK to
work below your capabilities and take a
job that doesn’t use all your talents and
It is OK to commit suicide.
It is OK to use animals in
factories to test products
It is absolutely necessary to help
people in need. If there are starving
people in Africa, it is your moral
obligation to send money or supplies.
Australian philosopher, teaching at Princeton
Do you think that animals deserve the
same consideration as humans? Is it
our moral responsibility to treat animals
in such a way as to not cause any pain?