Immanuel Kant and Deontology

In Michael Hemmingsen (ed.), Ethical Theory in Global Perspective. Albany: SUNY Press. pp. 191-206 (2024)
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This chapter has two main sections. In the first section I briefly sketch Immanuel Kant’s moral theory as laid out in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). I explain Kant’s claim that morality must be grounded on what he calls a categorical imperative and examine his three formulations of this categorical imperative. In the second section I explain the distinction between “deontological” and “teleological” ethical theories. Kantian ethics is often presented as the paradigm example of a deontological ethical theory, but I question whether Kant’s ethics should be understood as purely deontological.

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Lucas Thorpe
Bogazici University


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