XAT 2010 Question 12


Analyse the following passage and provide an appropriate answer for the questions that follow.

One key element of Kantian ethics is the idea that the moral worth of any action relies entirely on the motivation of the agent: human behaviour cannot be said good or bad in light of the consequences it generates, but only with regards to
what moved the agent to act in that particular way. Kant introduces the key concept of duty to clarify the rationale underpinning of his moral theory, by analysing different types of motivation. First of all individuals commit actions that arc really undertaken for the sake of duty itself, which is, done because the agent thinks they arc the right thing to do. No consideration of purpose of the action matters, but only whether the action respects a universal moral law. Another form of action (motivation) originates from immediate inclination: Every one has some inclinations, such as to preserve one's life, or to preserve honour. These are also duties that have worth in their own sake.But acting according to the maxim that these inclinations might suggests - such as taking care of one's own health - lacks for Kant true moral worth. For example, a charitable person who donates some goods to poor people might do it following her inclination to help the others - that is. because she enjoys helping the others. Kant does not consider it as moral motivation, even if the action is in conformity with duty. The person acting from duty would in fact donate to the other because she recognizes that helping the others is her moral obligation. Final type of motivation suggested by Kant include actions that can be done in conformity with duty, yet are not done from duty, but rather as a mean to some further end. In order to illustrate this type of motivation, Kant provides the following example. A shopkeeper who does not overcharge the inexperienced customer and treats all customers in the same way certainly is doing the right thing - that is, acts in conformity with duty - but we cannot say for sure that he is acting in this way because he is moved by the basic principles of honesty: "it is his advantage that requires it". Moreover, we cannot say that he is moved by an immediate inclination toward his customers, since he gives no preference to one with respect to another. Therefore, concludes Kant, "his action was done neither from duty nor from immediate inclination but merely for purposes of self - interest".

Question 12

Which of the following inferences would be against the ideas in the passage?
I. Kantian ethics considers the moral worth of an inclination on the basis of its consequence.
II. Actions motivated by the inclination of an individual lacks moral worth.
III. Elements of moral obligation reduce the moral worth of a duty, which has some worth in itself.

Create a FREE account and get:

  • All Quant Formulas and shortcuts PDF
  • 40+ previous papers with solutions PDF
  • Top 500 MBA exam Solved Questions for Free


    Register with


    Boost your Prep!

    Download App