Immanuel Kant's Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals In his publication, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant supplies his readers with a thesis that claims morality can be derived from the principle of the categorical imperative. The strongest argument to support his thesis is the difference between actions in accordance with duty and actions in accordance from duty. To setup his thesis, Kant first draws a distinction between empirical and “a priori” concepts. Empirical concepts are ideas we reach from our experiences in the world. On the other hand and in contrast, “a priori” concepts are ideas we reach as an end point of reasoning prior to or apart from any experience of how things occur in the world.
Kant creates a beautiful moral theory only fit for the Gods, assuming you believe in a divinity to begin with. It is not difficult to like what Kant writes and imagine how such an extraordinary system might govern something as spiritually charged as moral theory. However, Kant commits the fatal flaw in presenting his moral theory. He takes the assumption that the potential to act on pure reason is innately a human characteristic and from this sets to prove his theory. Given this assumption, his argument is brilliantly made.
Analysis of Kant’s Categorical Imperative in Metaphysics Grounding for the metaphysics of morals is a foundation of Kant’s philosophy, in this book, Kant wants to build up a moral kingdom of metaphysical. At first, Kant extracted categorical imperative from the concepts of goodness, will and obligation and enacted some rational principles, then, he plans to map out moral metaphysic through categorical imperative. However, he failed to do so owing to that his theory is founded on purely idealism. Mistakes in categorical imperative reveal the inherent contradiction of Kant's theory of motivation. Therefore, from the perspective of categorical imperative and its content and logic, we can better understand Kant's moral thoughts.
In his essay "Could Kant Have Been A Utilitarian? ", (1) R.M. Hare, analyzing Kant's text, tries to show that Kant's moral theory contains utilitarian elements and it can be properly asked whether Kant could have been a utilitarian though he was in fact not. I take his challenge to the standard view seriously not because it is made by the celebrated moral philosopher but because I find Hare's reading of Kant's text on the whole reasonable enough to lead to a consistent interpretation of Kant's moral philo... ... middle of paper ... ... fuer Philosophie), 1991. (3) T. Terada, op.cit.
George’s situation is one that is undoubtedly complex. We have an agent who accepts a general principle and yet doesn’t act on it. George’s case doesn’t fit neatly with any of Kant’s examples from his discussion of “from duty” in the Groundwork, yet there may be just enough information provided to form some arguments and conclusions that both support and oppose the idea that George’s actions have moral worth. Before further contemplating George’s story it would be helpful to first provide an account of moral worth as it is according to Kant. Kant states that moral worth is the value of a good will in dutiful action.
Kant argued that the Categorical Imperative (CI) was the test for morally permissible actions. The CI states: I must act in such a way that I can will that my maxim should become a universal law. Maxims which fail to pass the CI do so because they lead to a contradiction or impossibility. Kant believes this imperative stems from the rationality of the will itself, and thus it is necessary regardless of the particular ends of an individual; the CI is an innate constituent of being a rational individual. As a result, failure ... ... middle of paper ... ...d in the discussion of promise keeping and beneficence, identifiable logical or practical contradictions arise when attempting to universalize morally impermissible maxims (according to the CI).
Kant believed that following ones duty was not measurable by the end means, yet it “is good only through its willing”. This meant that it is good only if it is good in itself. He believes under the categorical imperative, one must only act upon the maxim if it is willable under the universal law. And these maxims must be contradiction free and purposeful to be considered moral. Kant believed that we as hum... ... middle of paper ... ... feel beneath you to uplift ones self.
Immanuel Kant was a philosopher who made great contributions with his work on the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Kant’s interest with metaphysics left him in the company of Aristotle, who had the original work on metaphysics. Kant’s goal in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals was to find and make the supreme principal of morality. Kant covers several concepts in his work on metaphysics, some of the key concepts in his work are good will, moral worth, and imperatives. When it comes to good will Kant believes that “Nothing in the world—indeed nothing even beyond the world—can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will” 1.
Comparing Kant and Mill Works Cited Missing Kant and Mill both articulate thoughts that praise the use of reason as the ultimate good, that which leads to enlightenment (in Kant’s terms) and a general understanding and certainty, as Mill would put it. The two political philosophers, while both striving to reach the same goal, ultimately achieve their goals in a different sense, and even demonstrate a slight discrepancy in what they ultimately mean to attain. Mill’s path toward certainty and understanding is dependent on dissenting opinion, and is asymptotic to truth; one never achieves the complete enlightenment that Kant describes so vividly as the individual’s end on a linear path of reason. Kant’s description of enlightenment describes the escape from one’s “self-imposed immaturity.” This immaturity, according to Kant, is “self imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in a lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another.” (Kant 41). Kant is clearly attempting to break the chains of laziness and cowardice that hold a man back, preventing him from ultimate understanding.
However, he distinguishes between perceived self-interest and actual self-interest and argues that any apparent conflict between rationality and morality is simply a conflict between one's perceived self-interest and the requirements of justice. Pursuing of one's actual self-interest never conflicts with the demands of morality. Since, for Plato, it is more rational to pursue one's real, than one's apparent, self-interest, rationality and morality do not conflict. It is rational to be moral. Plato rejects the contractarian reconciliation of morality with individual rationality primarily because the thinks that the contractarian conception assumes that a person's motives for being just are necessarily based her self-interest, while our concept of the just person holds that to be truly just one must value justice for its own sake.