Kantian ethics is in concordance with the deontological moral theory. Deontological theories propose that whether an action is right or wrong is not determined by the consequences of the action, but rather on whether the action is a fulfillment of one’s duty. There are two questions that guide Kantian ethics one is whether one can propose that everyone acts as he or she has acted and whether one’s actions respect the goals of human beings apart from serving personal interests. Agreement with both questionsis interpreted as moral correctness according toKantian ethics (Rachaels & Rachaels, 2011).
According to Kant, the categorical imperative is the principle that determines the morality of an action. A categorical imperative refers to an unconditional command. The categorical imperative that one cannot lie, steal, or break a promise means that one cannot do any of these things if they serve personal interests. Kant uses categorical imperatives as the guiding principles because they are commands that one cannot opt out of or claim that they do not apply to them. Kant proposes that the first formula of universal law is that one should only act on that maxim of which he or she would will that it becomes a universal law(Rachaels & Rachaels, 2011).
According to Kant, it is not permissible to lie, steal, or break a promise because these acts fail to fulfill the first formula, of universal law since this would be self-defeating. Since these acts are only beneficial to the individual when they are made an exception to the individual,then they cannot be made universal laws (Rachaels & Rachaels, 2011). If breaking of promises were made a universal law, then no one would make promises anymore since it would be common knowledge that promises do not mean anything. Since one benefits from breaking promises which would no longer be made, then it means that breaking a promise is wrong.
Kantian ethics differs from utilitarianism in