An Exposition of Kant’s, Arendt’s, and Mill’s Moral Philosophy Immanuel Kant adheres to Deontological ethics. His theory offers a view of morality based on the principle of good will and duty. According to him, people can perform good actions solely by good intentions without any considerations to consequences. In addition, one must follow the laws and the categorical imperative in order to act in accordance with and from duty. Several other philosophers such as Hannah Arendt discuss Kant’s moral philosophy.
John Stuart Mill’s moral system is based on the theory known as utilitarianism, which is based upon utility, or doing what produces the greatest happiness. One of Kant’s lasting contributions to moral philosophy was his emphasis on the notion of respect for persons. He considers respect for persons (a.k.a the Kantian respect) to be the fundamental moral principle of ethical philosophy. His Kantianism premise is a deontological moral theory which claims that the right action in any given situation is determined by the categorical imperative, which he calls the Supreme Principle. This imperative is a command that applies to all rational beings independent of their desires.
The categorical imperative suggests that a course of action must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. The course of action taken can also be reasoned by its ability to be seen as a universal law. Universal laws have been deemed as unconditional commands that are binding to everyone at all times. Kant believed that individuals have a freedom to consciously obey the laws of the universe as they are revealed in accordance to our ability to reason. Kant goes a step further to suggest that our actions should be driven by a sense of duty that is dictated by reason.
This means that our actions are conscious driven and that our intentions are bounded in rationality to fulfill one’s duty. For Kant, morality should be necessary and universal (Kant, 2005: 49) He provides that actions must be universal and be based on a set of moral rules in order for them to be classified as moral or immoral. Reason is a main component of Kant’s argument of morality. Kant’s view of morality is premised on the notion of “good will,” which ultimately ensures that an act complies with moral principles (Kant, 2005: 18). An act will be deemed good depending on the motive or intention behind the act.
Kant described two types of common commands given by reason: the hypothetical imperative, which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end; and the categorical imperative, which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. The categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant in these words: "Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will and general natural law." Therefore, before proceeding to act, we must decide what rule we need to follow if we were to act, whether we are willing for that rule to be followed by everyone all over. Kant believes that moral rules have no exceptions. It is wrong to kill in all situations, even those of self-defense.
A moral philosophy based so heavily on autonomy, that it if fair to establish that Kant’s morality and freedom reciprocally imply one another. First, Kant holds that there is a single fundamental principle of morality, one that is absolutely necessary, on which all specific moral duties are based. This moral law is what is referred to as the categorical imperative. According to Kant imperatives are formulas for determining an action that is necessary according to a will that is good in some way. All imperatives can command either hypothetically o... ... middle of paper ... ...g as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it”(19).
Kant's notion of morality arose from his notion of a moral law; a law applicable to all people at all times, that imposes absolute duties on us. According to Kant, you "ought to act according to the maxim that is qualified for universal law giving; that is, you ought to act so that the maxim of your action may become a universal law" (Immanuel Kant 'Lectures of Mr. Kant on the Metaphysics of Morals'). Kant, unlike Hume, saw it as possible to act on reason alone, and whether or not a person acted morally depended on whether he/she had acted on reason alone. The essential difference between Kant and Hume that affected their whole thinking on the matter of morality was each one's belief about the autonomy of the will. Kant saw the will as fully autonomous and therefore needing no external sources for motivation, thus making it possible to act out of reason alone.
In Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant proposes a new form of determining the morality of an action. His moral philosophy is grounded upon possessing a single virtue at hand: a good will. Contrary to opposing moral arguments, his views provide absolute parameters with which to prescribe morality through moral requirements, better known as categorical imperatives. In this paper, I will endeavor in Kant’s view of categorical imperatives to better understand how the aforementioned provide a means to determine an action’s morality and how, when confronted by objections, stand firm in their absolute grounds. To thoroughly comprehend Kant’s moral philosophy, we must first understand two key elements by which it stands: good will and the categorical imperative.
Such an action is good in itself, not just as a means of achieving some other purpose. Because Kant believes all people poses rational will, the categorical imperative applies to everyone, guiding him or her to act in the same way regardless of his or her circumstances or bias. It disregards the consequences of an action and only judges moral or immoral based on the intentions. Such an imperative is “Do not lie,” which Kant believes is a maxim that holds true in all cases. The categorical imperative is based on the single notion that one should act only on maxims that can reasonably and without contradiction be made a universal law.
We set out on a maxim to achieve the best possible outcome, which brings Kant to his next argument that “good will appears to constitute the indispensable condition even of being worthy of happiness” (Kant 18). Good will is the only concept that is morally good without any requirement. Good will can result in the happiness that Aristotle believes in. It is our duty by the Category Imperative that we promote