Essay on Autonomous Thinking and Immanuel Kant

Essay on Autonomous Thinking and Immanuel Kant

Length: 694 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Considered to be one of the most important philosophers of modern Europe and an important part of philosophical thinking, Immanuel Kant paved the way for current ethical thinkers. He paved the way for philosophers and social behavioral scientists such as Jean Piaget. Kant's theory is hinged by his beliefs on autonomy and his formulation of categorical imperatives.
Kant believed in autonomy however, knowing that autonomy has flaws, he created the categorical imperatives. Autonomy allows us to be self creating when it comes to our values and morality. Autonomy is ones own beliefs, independence, and government: acting without regard for anyone else. Conversely, heteronomy is acting under the influence of someone else and allows for an individual to consistently place blame outside of self. Kant believed that each individual is rational and capable of making free choices; thereby relies on autonomous thinking (Wikipedia, 2009.)

Kant understood that autonomous thinking in and of itself is flawed. To address these flaws, he created the three maxims known as categorical imperatives. These imperatives state: maxims should be chosen with regard to the universal laws of nature (perfect and imperfect duty), do not use humanity of ourselves or others as a means to an end, and one should "act that we may think of ourselves as a member in the universal realm of ends (Wikipedia, 2009.")

The first maxim states that we should choose our 'codes of conduct' only if they serve perfect / imperfect duty and are good for all. Perfect duties are blameworthy if not met and are the basic requirements for a human being. An example of perfect duty is the avoidance of suicide. Suicide is the end of life and Kant believed that "self love impels the improveme...

... middle of paper ...

...others as we would have done unto us. If we believe that we are justified in murder then we have broken Kant's belief that murder does not benefit the universal good. Under Kant's theory we can only position ourselves for the benefit of universal good thereby denying ourselves the opportunity to live by any other code. If we deny codes of conduct, we could easily deny our religions. Kant believed we could not rely on religion because the belief in G*d cannot be concretely proven. Individuals could not be held to the written mitzvahs since they were constructed by an entity whose existence cannot be proven and cannot be considered to be autonomous in thought (Kemeringly, 2001.) Without laws to govern humanity, I believe humanity would perish and would argue that fully autonomous thinking does not benefit humankind universally. It is selfish and merely self righteous.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Immanuel Kant Essays

- Immanuel Kant 1724-1804 Immanuel Kant was born on April 22, 1724 in Konigsberg, East Prussia. He was the son of a saddler. At age 8, he entered the Collegium Fredericianum, a Latin school, where he remained for 8 1/2 years and studied the classics. He then entered the University of Konigsberg in 1740 to study philosophy, mathematics, and physics. The death of his father halted his university career so he became a private tutor. In 1755, he returned to Konigsburg where he later resumed his studies....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
3187 words (9.1 pages)

Essay about The Effects Of Government Policies On The Environment

- Balancing the Environment Does the implementation of government policies in order to decrease negative environmental effects violate individual rights. This question can’t be answered with just a yes or a no, at least without taking a look at moral reasoning behind the answer or the topic of the environment itself. Published in the International Journal of Academic Research was a piece written by Adrianto Surjono (2011) which stated, “Responding to the global environmental degradation, the international world agreed on the importance of Sustainable Development.” According to Surjono’s research, in recent time the environment and its sustainability has become a worldwide concern....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Ethics, Morality, Utilitarianism]

Better Essays
1623 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Hume vs. Kant: Moral Philosophy

-      From the origin of Western philosophical thought, there has been an interest in moral laws. As Hume points out in the Treatise, "morality is a subject that interests us above all others" (David Hume "A Treatise of Human Nature'). Originally, thoughts of how to live were centered on the issue of having the most satisfying life, with "virtue governing one's relations to others" (J.B. Schneewind 'Modern Moral Philosophy'). However, the view that there is one way to live that is best for everyone and the view that morality is determined by God, came to be questioned, and it is this that led to the emergence of Modern moral philosophy....   [tags: Philosophy Morality Philosophical Essays]

Better Essays
1735 words (5 pages)

Immanuel Kant And John Stuart Mill Essay example

- Even though at the first glance, the two most influential philosophers in human history - Immanuel Kant and John-Stuart Mill seem to have a lot of disagreements on the central concepts of their moral philosophies – for example, while Kant is concerned more about the intentions of an action, Mill, on the other hand, believes that the consequences of an action are the only justification necessary for an act to be good or moral or right, they still have beliefs in common, such as the concept of the greater good and base their moral systems on a fundamental first principle....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant]

Better Essays
1502 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Immanuel Kant 's Metaphysics Of Morals

- Immanuel Kant’s “Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals” answers the question of, where does the moral value or worth of an action reside by stating the only thing that can be completely good is a good will itself. He voices that even good moral acts and good moral things can have a negative result. Good will is a formal law like how gravity is a law, in order to have a good-willed society, everyone must obey this moral, universal law. The specific requirements of good will are performed by duties, these duties are designed to attain, “this notion that always holds the highest esteem in estimating the value of our actions” (Kant, 116)....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant, Aesthetics]

Better Essays
1056 words (3 pages)

Immanuel Kant 's Categorical Imperative Essay

- Google defines Categorical Imperative as “(in Kantian ethics) an unconditional moral obligation that is binding in all circumstances and is not dependent on a person 's inclination or purpose.” (Google) Thus, there is no middle ground on morals nor is there ever a situation to where one should commit a moral wrong doing. Immanuel Kant had strong views regarding Categorical Imperative and believed that universal law applies to all. He also believes there cannot be any exceptions to this rule, or it becomes right for all to live by the exception....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Morality, Ethics, Human]

Better Essays
981 words (2.8 pages)

Arthur Schopenhauer Vs Immanuel Kant Essay

- Arthur Schopenhauer Versus Immanuel Kant 2 Arthur Schopenhauer’s meaning of life includes ideas that attempt to identify factors that constitute happiness. According to Schopenhauer, the three factors are what one is, what one has, and how one is regarded by others. ( Pigliucci, 2006 ) What one has and how one is regarded appear to be the two deciding factors that determine an individual’s happiness. Not much consideration is given to what one is. These ideas led to the philosophy that “personality is the greatest factor in happiness.” ( Pigliucci, 2006 ) Schopenhauer believed that personal attributes that are possessed need to be utilized to their maximum potential....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Philosophy, Ethics, Morality]

Better Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Immanuel Kant 's Moral Theory Essay

- Immanuel Kant is a philosopher of the early centuries, one of his well-known works is his moral theory which can be referred to as Deontology. The moral theory arises from the principle behind Deontology which is derived from -deon which signifies rule or law and -ology which means the study of. Kant designed his moral theory to be contradictory to utilitarianism which is a moral theory that focuses on the outcomes of an action. Beside other factors the moral theory is a non-consequentialist moral theory which in basic terms means the theory follows a law based system of making judgements and disregards the consequences....   [tags: Categorical imperative, Immanuel Kant, Ethics]

Better Essays
1365 words (3.9 pages)

Immanuel Kant Essay

- He was the fourth of nine children of Johann Georg and Anna Regina Kant, German philosopher Immanuel Kant was born in Konigsberg, East Prussia in 1724. Son of a humble saddler, his family belonged to a Protestant religious group of Pietists ,religion was a very improtant part in every aspect of their lives. Even though Kant was critical of formal religion, he still admired the conduct of Pietists. Kant’s went to elementary school at Saint George’s Hospital School and then went to the Collegium Fredericianum, a Pietist school, where he studied from 1732 until 1740....   [tags: Immanuel Kant]

Better Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Immanuel Kant Essay

- Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant was born, lived and passed away in his home town of Konigsberg. He lived from 1724 to 1804. He studied at the local university and later returned to tutor and lecture students. It wasn’t until he met an English merchant by the name of Joseph Green that Kant learned of David Hume and began to develop his ideas of morals and values. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781) is believed by many to be his greatest work. Kant’s was known mainly, however, for his moral code The Categorical Imperative....   [tags: Immanuel Kant Deontology Ethics]

Better Essays
430 words (1.2 pages)