A Discussion Of Kant 's Moral Philosophy Essay

A Discussion Of Kant 's Moral Philosophy Essay

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Universal or Limiting:
A Discussion of Kant’s Moral Philosophy
The benefit of a moral theory that is applicable in all situations and does not change depending on the circumstances is clearly appealing. Immanuel Kant lays provides such a moral philosophy in “Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.” Kant’s main arguments are born of reason, not of experience and center on the idea that moral principles should be applicable in all situations. Because of this, Kant’s moral theory may seem rigid and unfeeling to modern readers. In some respects, Kant’s theories are persuasive because they provide a comprehensive guide to morality in any given situation. However, some of Kant’s theories are incompatible with the complex modern world we live in. This paper will review the central principles and terms of Kant’s moral philosophy, and offer both support and criticism.
Two key concepts to understand in Kant’s main argument is his idea of the “good will” and of moral duty (Kant, Wood, and Schneewind, p. 9). According to Kant, the good will is the only thing in this world that is good in all situations. For example, Kant points out there are many forces in the world that can be used either for good or for evil, such as money, power, and intelligence. Unlike these examples, the good will is “good not through what it effects or accomplishes, not through its efficacy for attaining any intended end, but only through its willing, i.e., good in itself” (p. 10). In saying this, Kant states that the good will depends not on outcomes, but on the intent behind an action. The good will is moral because it is a pure intention, not because of any outcome it produces. Kant uses this concept of the good will to assess the morality of an ...


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... may be able to rationalize this decision, it is counterintuitive to our natural instincts. Most people would agree that lying to save an innocent’s life is more moral than knowingly endangering someone just to maintain the universality of a moral law. Although Kant’s intent in regards to universalization was to discourage the idea of special privileges, the uncompromising nature of his maxim principle is limiting in the context of complex questions of morality.
Kant’s theories have two main appeals: the universality and broad applications of his philosophies. Since Kant’s idea of a moral law is one that remains consistent in every circumstance, it is a very comprehensive moral guide. Nevertheless, Kant’s moral philosophy has a few weaknesses. His rigid ideology has two main drawbacks: a lack of emotionality and difficulties in adapting to complex situations.

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