Kant’s Duty Ethics essay

Kant’sDuty Ethics

Runninginto a burning house to save the child is an action, which is inaccordance with duty because a dutiful will is an exceptional caseof a good will can be seen in adverse conditions (Sullivan andImmanuel 52). In this case, the burning house is the adversecondition. This act of saving the child is a good will which isunique. It is always good to maintain the moral value even when onefails to achieve the moral intention. This means that, even if one isnot able to save his/her child, the act itself of trying to save thechild maintains the moral value, and will remain to be good (Hill76). For Kant, an action can only be moral when one can desire themaxim of actions to be a universal law. The maxim of my action wouldbe to save my child when I can. This can be universal law sinceeveryone would try to save their children from a burning house ifthey could. Thus, my action can be willed to be a universal law.

Iagree with Kant when he argues that morally right actions, motivatedby inclination, do not have moral worth. If actions are morallyright, but are not as a result of motivation of duty, meaning thatthey result from other motives such as self-interests, sympathy, self–preservation, and happiness, such actions do not have a good will(Hill 84). Kant terms a good will as the will whose decision iswholly determined by moral demands or by moral law. An action willhave moral worth if it expresses one’s determination to actdutifully under any circumstances.


Hill,Thomas E. TheBlackwell Guide to Kant`s Ethics.Chichester, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.

Sullivan,Roger J, and Immanuel Kant. AnIntroduction to Kant`s Ethics.Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997. Print.