Justice - What Is the Right Thing To Do?

Episode 6. No ethics course can be complete without an exploration of one of the strangest and most important moral theories out there: Immanuel Kant's deontology (or duty-based morality). Kant argues that morality is not simply a matter of social convention, nor the expression of personal tastes or sentiments, nor the consent to enter a social covenant, nor the result of a cost-benefit analysis, nor even the submission to God's will. If morality is none of these things, you might wonder, what can it be, and how can it be defended? Well, that's one of the very many reasons why Kant is a genius...

In these two lectures, Professor Sandel explains the various elements that Kant must juggle in order to find the synthetic a priori judgment that will allow him to vindicate the objectivity or morality. Sandel also explains Kant's test for determining whether our actions have moral worth, the famous categorical imperative.

Agree or disagree with Kant, you are in for a thought-provoking treat :)


Ironically, part of the reason Kant's theory may seem so strange is that is the philosophical expression of popular and ordinary intuitions about morality, as Nietzsche concisely explains in this quote from The Gay Science:
Kant's joke.— Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul. He wrote against the scholars in support of popular prejudice, but for scholars and not for the people.
Episode list: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
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