(over which the wrong can be justified) than does the wrong of stepping on a baby. The conformity of ones action to duty in such cases is only related by accident to morality. A may not torture B to save the lives of two others, but he may do so to save a thousand lives if the threshold is higher than two lives but lower than a thousand. But there is a chasm between this analytic claim and the supposed synthetic conclusion that rational agency also requires conforming to a further, non-desire based, principle of practical reason such as the. Yet to will the movement of a finger on a trigger is distinct from an intention to kill a person by that finger movement. Kant is saying that people should always be treated as valuable - as an end in themselves - and should not just be used in order to achieve something else. Thus, the difference between a horse and a taxi driver is not that we may use one but not the other as a means of transportation. A fourth problem is that threshold deontology threatens to collapse into a kind of consequentialism. Thomas Kingsmill Abbott,.
Assuming an action has moral worth only if it expresses a good will, such actions have no genuine moral worth. A second issue that has received considerable attention is whether Kant is a metaethical constructivist or realist. Jeremy Bentham, Chrestomathia (1816. In contrast to consequentialist theories, deontological theories judge the morality of choices by criteria different from the states of affairs those choices bring about. For a will to be free is thus for it to be physically and psychologically unforced in its operation. By representing our immoral act as rational and reasonable, we are not exercising our powers of reason well, so we are simply making a choice that is contrary to reason without willing it as such. Our choice is nonetheless free and attributable to us because our will was involved in leading us to take the act to be rational and reasonable.
It remains to be seen whether, on this complicated interpretation of Kant, it sufficiently allows for the possibility that one can knowingly and willingly do wrong if the will is practical reason and practical reason is, in part, the moral law. Kants view can be seen as the view that the moral law is just such a principle. On this view, our agent-relative obligations and permissions have as their content certain kinds of actions: we are obligated not to kill innocents for example. Understanding the idea of autonomy was, in Kants view, key to understanding and justifying the authority that moral requirements have over. What naturally comes to mind is this: Duties are rules or laws of some sort combined with some sort of felt constraint or incentive on our choices, whether from external coercion by others or from our own powers of reason. And it is the fact that they can conflict with moral law, not the fact that they actually do conflict with it, that makes duty a constraint, and hence is virtue essentially a trait concerned with constraint. Both Paul Guyer and Allen Wood have offered proposals that differ from Hermans in content, but agree on the general form of teleology that she defends as a reading of Kant. Kant's version of duty-based ethics was based on something that he called 'the categorical imperative' which he intended to be the basis of all other rules (a 'categorical imperative' is a rule that is true in all circumstances.). This resonates strongly with disapproving comments such as "he's just using her and it underpins the idea that "the end can never justify the means". By contrast, the Categorical Imperative, because it does not enshrine existing interests, presumes that rational agents can conform to a principle that does not appeal to their interests (or an autonomous principle and so can fully ground our conception, according to Kant, of what morality. By casting our categorical obligations in such agent-centered terms, one invites a kind of manipulation that is legalistic and Jesuitical, what Leo Katz dubs avoision (Katz 1996). The maxim of lying whenever it gets you what you want generates a contradiction once you try to combine it with the universalized version that all rational agents must, by a law of nature, lie when doing so gets them what they want.