Strengths and Weaknesses of Kant

We must be able to critically evaluate the moral theories. To do this, we need a clear idea of what we consider to be their principal strengths and weaknesses – and we must be able to explain why we think this.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Kant and the Categorical Imperative

Strengths

  1. Human beings are morally autonomous, authors of their own morality.
  2. The categorical imperative promotes equality and is impartial.
  3. The categorical imperative provides a deontological structure which enables the individual to decide for themselves the specific moral content.
  4.  In an increasingly secular age Kant’s emphasis on duty plays a significant counter-cultural role in an individualistic, egotistical society.
  5. Kant Values Intrinsic Human Goods eg Freedom and Dignity.

Weaknesses

  1.  Acting out of a sense of ‘duty for duty’s sake’ is cold and impersonal.
  2. Duty, without guidance from human benevolence and sympathy, can lead to rigid moral fanaticism.
  3. Implications of Kant’s emphasis on reason … the loss of the human spirit?
  4. Resolving Conflicting Duties?
  5. Kant is Speciesist.
  6. The ‘Good will’ is not enough … Consequences do matter!

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