Is Honesty the Best Policy? － Kant on Lying
|Keywords:||說謊;定言令式;普遍化;目的自身;人性;目的王國;lying;Categorical Imperative;universalization;end-in-itself;humanity;realm of ends||Issue Date:||2008||Abstract:||
This thesis concentrates on the moral status of lying in Kantian ethics. In his article “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy”, Kant claims that lying is morally forbidden in any circumstance. However, taking Kantian ethics as a whole, I will argue that lying is sometimes morally permissible. Therefore, to describe Kantian ethics as “rigorism” is inadequate.amp;nbsp;n Chapter 1, I will introduce Kant’s definition of lying, and the categories in which the duty of “Do not lie” is located. In Chapters 2 to 5, I will focus on the three formulae of the Categorical Imperative, FUL, FH and FRE, to discuss how these formulae are applied to evaluate the moral status of lying. In my interpretation, the concept of “universalization” in FUL should be reinterpreted to be the principle of consistency. Thus lying to the murderer can pass the test of FUL and is morally permissible. I will also argue that in FH and FRE the absolute value that Kantian ethics wants to protect is humanity, which implies the concept of self developing and of promoting the harmony of the unity. By this interpretation, lying to the murderer is also morally permissible, since lying in this case does not degrade humanity. n conclusion, I will claim that these three formulae, which are seen as the different aspects of the same Categorical Imperative, converge to the same position that acknowledges the moral permissibility of lying in murderer-at-the-door case. Examining the other writings of Kant, it can also be found that he acknowledges the moral legitimacy of lying in some situations. Therefore, Kant’s claim in “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy” is incoherent with his ethical theory. In Kantian ethics, at least in the murderer-at-the-door case, lying is a morally permissible action.
|Appears in Collections:||哲學系|
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