- Not consequentialist – Kant realised a bad action can have good consequences.
- Universal – Provides moral laws that hold universally, regardless of culture.
- Clear – Kant’s theory is argued as simple. “Would you like it if someone did that to you?” “No?” “Then don’t do it to someone else”
- Autonomy – Kant has the greatest respect for human dignity and autonomy.
- Rational – Kant is not swayed by emotion. His theory does not allow favouritism. It is a purely rational theory.
- Human Rights – Provides a basis for Human Rights.
- Equality and Justice – Provides a basis for modern conceptions of equality and justice.
- International Law – Provides a basis for a lot of British and international Law.
- Objective – Objective standards, rather than subjective in situations.
- Duty – Bad options can come out of acting through love/compassion. Acting out of duty is always right.
- Reliable – A system of rules works, and everyone knows there obligations.
- Authority – Kant’s rules are logical and reasonable – as if everyone broke promises, they would no longer mean anything.
- Ends in themselves – Kant respects human life as ends rather than means, however this is contested by modern medical ethics.
- Consequences – Sometimes consequences can be so severe that rule breaking may be necessary.
- Inflexible – It should be acceptable to break an unhelpful rule if the situation warrants it.
- Lack of motivation – Realising that something is irrational doesn’t give any motivation to do the right thing.
- Conflicting duty – Looking after your mother vs. looking after your father. Which one do I follow?
- Absolute Duty – Ross argues that we have an absolute duty – sometimes we have a duty to break a promise.
- Moral Law – Some philosophers question the existence of the moral law. Why should we believe that there is objective morality?
- Anthropocentric – Kant sees non-human animals as having no intrinsic value.
- Too Vague – It is not clear how broad our application of the CI should be. E.g. If my council wants to collect rubbish every 2 weeks. But I believe that rationally that is too long. Is that really morally wrong?
- Difficulty forming maxims – If the SS asked if you are hiding Jews. Which maxim do you follow? ‘Do not lie’ or ‘Do not expose others to violence’?
- A priori – Some slander the a priori approach. Isn’t experience better, in situations such as medical ethics.
- Unrealistic – Just because we follow this route doesn’t mean everyone will too. For example by being pacifist I would leave myself open to attack from a non-Kantian.
- Unforgiving – Kant believed in retributive justice ‘an eye for an eye’. Whereas someone like Bentham believed it should be rehabilitative – make things better.
- Every situation is unique – Universal rules aren’t much use in a world where every situation is different. If no situation are the same, morality should be relativist not absolutist.