Essay on kant and morality

The little work, as is well known, was not compiled for publication by the master himself. When the course fell to Kant he conformed, as was his wont, to the not unusual custom of taking a standard text-book on his theme—in this connection it was that of his colleague, Prof.

Essay on kant and morality

As part of the Enlightenment tradition, Kant based his ethical theory on the belief that reason should be used to determine how people ought to act. No other virtue has this status because every other virtue can be used to achieve immoral ends the virtue of loyalty is not good if one is loyal to an evil person, for example.

The good will is unique in that it is always good and maintains its moral value even when it fails to achieve its moral intentions. A will which acts from duty is distinguishable as a will which overcomes hindrances in order to keep the moral law. A dutiful will is thus a special case of a good will which becomes visible in adverse conditions.

Kant argues that only acts performed with regard to duty have moral worth. This is not to say that acts performed merely in accordance with duty are worthless these still deserve approval and encouragementbut that special esteem is given to acts which are performed out of duty.

Thus, when an agent performs an action from duty it is because the rational incentives matter to them more than their opposing inclinations. Kant wished to move beyond the conception morality as externally imposed duties and present an ethics of autonomy, when rational agents freely recognise the claims reason makes upon them.

The former are classified as perfect duties, the latter as imperfect. A perfect duty always holds true—there is a perfect duty to tell the truth, so we must never lie.

Essay on kant and morality

An imperfect duty allows flexibility—beneficence is an imperfect duty because we are not obliged to be completely beneficent at all times, but may choose the times and places in which we are. A hypothetical imperative is one we must obey if we want to satisfy our desires: A categorical imperative binds us regardless of our desires: These imperatives are morally binding because they are based on reason, rather than contingent facts about an agent.

We owe a duty to rationality by virtue of being rational agents; therefore, rational moral principles apply to all rational agents at all times.

For Kant, an act is only permissible if one is willing for the maxim that allows the action to be a universal law by which everyone acts. A contradiction in conception happens when, if a maxim were to be universalized, it ceases to make sense because the " The maxim is not moral because it is logically impossible to universalize—we could not conceive of a world where this maxim was universalized.

This does not mean a logical contradiction, but that universalizing the maxim leads to a state of affairs that no rational being would desire. He thus believed that a perfectly rational being must also be perfectly moral because a perfectly rational being subjectively finds it necessary to do what is rationally necessary.

Because humans are not perfectly rational they partly act by instinctKant believed that humans must conform their subjective will with objective rational laws, which he called conformity obligation. Just as physical laws exist prior to physical beings, rational laws morality exist prior to rational beings.

Therefore, according to Kant, rational morality is universal and cannot change depending on circumstance. Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.

A rational being cannot rationally consent to being used merely as a means to an end, so they must always be treated as an end. Because all rational agents rationally will themselves to be an end and never merely a means, it is morally obligatory that they are treated as such.

Kant believed that any moral law motivated by the desire to fulfill some other interest would deny the Categorical Imperative, leading him to argue that the moral law must only arise from a rational will. A rational being must always regard himself as giving laws either as member or as sovereign in a kingdom of ends which is rendered possible by the freedom of will.

Accordingly, people have an obligation to act upon principles that a community of rational agents would accept as laws.

Pietism emphasised honesty and moral living over doctrinal beliefmore concerned with feeling than rationality. Kant believed that rationality is required, but that it should be concerned with morality and good will. Kant favoured rationalism over empiricism, which meant he viewed morality as a form of knowledge, rather than something based on human desire.

Natural law the belief that the moral law is determined by nature and intuitionism the belief that humans have intuitive awareness of objective moral truths were, according to Pojman, also influential for Kant.

Rejecting any form of coercion or manipulation, Habermas believes that agreement between the parties is crucial for a moral decision to be reached. Kant distinguished between the phenomena world, which can be sensed and experienced by humans, and the noumenaor spiritual world, which is inaccessible to humans.

Diagnostic information:

This dichotomy was necessary for Kant because it could explain the autonomy of a human agent: For Habermas, morality arises from discourse, which is made necessary by their rationality and needs, rather than their freedom.

To achieve this fairness, he proposed a hypothetical moment prior to the existence of a society, at which the society is ordered: This should take place from behind a veil of ignorancewhere no one knows what their own position in society will be, preventing people from being biased by their own interests and ensuring a fair result.

He proposed that, while Kant presented human freedom as critical to the moral law, Sade further argued that human freedom is only fully realised through the maxim of jouissance.Kant and Morality Kant had a different ethical system which was based on reason. According to Kant reason was the fundamental authority in determining morality/5(1).

The 18th Century proudly referred to itself as the "Age of Enlightenment" and rightfully so, for Europe had dwelled in the dim glow of the Middle Ages when suddenly the lights began to come on in men's minds and humankind moved forward. Kant wanted to give moral law a concrete form with this principle but it failed to per form this task.

The morality of an act depends upon its circumstances that every person does, in . Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? [Michael J. Sandel] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Essay on kant and morality

For Michael Sandel, justice is not a spectator sport, The Nation 's reviewer of Justice remarked. In his acclaimed book―based on his legendary Harvard course―Sandel offers a rare education in thinking through the complicated issues and controversies we face in public life today.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative essay. One of the most widespread ethical dilemmas is the admissibility of white lies. Pious deception is obviously a form of intentional deception, as soon as it expresses person’s interest.

principles of morality and justice.

Why did this block occur?

In such cases, an object of deception and an object of a good deed do not. (1) Explain Kant’s moral theory. Explain and critique Kant’s response to “The Nazis Objection. ” Immanuel Kant is one of the most respected and studied philosopher of all time and is known for his basic yet in-depth moral theories and the belief that morality stems not from divine command or cultural conditioning but from reasoning and human freedom.

On Kant and Mill’s Ethics – Assignment Example