Deontology is an ethical theory that considers the motives and other mental factors conditioning human behavior as essential in exploring moral concepts. Deontological ethics is deemed duty-oriented because it estimates the person’s actions according to any existing systems of ethical rules. Deontology principles are an essential basis of Kantian ethics which focuses on the understanding that the concepts of duty shape human behavior.
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Exploring the role of duty in human moral principles, Kant proposes the categorical imperative term, which allows the categorizing of particular acts as moral or immoral. The process of acting itself is essential for Kantian ethics, while the action results have no importance. Thus, moral action is considered evil if intentions and achieving means contradict ethical presuppositions. Kant believes that there is a difference between good and moral. Good can result from immoral actions and be encouraged by emotions and desires, while morality may only be based on rational mental abilities.
Another essential principle in understanding Kantian ethics is that not all behaviors can be estimated as moral or immoral. The main criteria allowing to categorize particular action is its mental causation. For example, if a person consciously decides to behave in a specific way, such action can be estimated. A person chooses a behavior pattern based on moral beliefs or principles. Thus, only intention can be treated as good or evil, not the action itself. The critical factor of the Kantian theory is human dignity, which implies the improvement of the ethical characteristics of the personality. From Kant’s point of view, ethical advance is the main principle of the people’s moral duty to themselves. Therefore, Kant proposed the criteria for differentiating good and moral actions, emphasizing the natural human commitment to duty.