Thoroughly explain Kant's understanding of morality, and identify at least two weaknesses of his moral theory. (Be sure to mention and explain the concepts of the Categorical Imperative, deontology, the role of reason, autonomy vs. heteronomy, whether the consequences of actions relate to their moral praiseworthiness).
According to Kant, morality is a priori. That is, morality is independent of all experience. Just as there are physical laws, so are there moral laws. These moral laws are based on rational principles that are independent from feelings and emotions, but rather based solely on reason. These moral laws are also autonomous to individuals with each person capable of finding out for them-selves right from wrong. Central to Kant's theory of morality is deontology that is duty-based ethics. Kant said, "An action done from duty must be wholly exclude the influence of inclination". Therefore obeying moral laws also must be done without regard to ones inclinations (ones feelings, desires, ambitions and emotions). He stresses obedience to the moral principle regardless to the consequences. Kant said "to deviate from the principle of duty is beyond all doubt wicked". Duty is the reason for obedience, not consequences. .
So we know, according to Kant, that moral laws are a priori (they exist just as gravity exist), they are autonomous (inherently in everyone), and they are our duty to obey without regard to our inclinations. What moral laws are we to obey? Kant formulates what he calls the Categorical Imperative. It's basically similar to the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Likewise the Categorical Imperative tells us to act in such a way that we would want everyone else to act the same way. So if you can't will the act to everyone then the act is immoral. Kant said, "Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law".