1 Thus it is clear to Kant that the long-held idea that reason existed to nurture man's happiness is fundamentally untrue. However Kant maintained that there must be a purpose for which reason was placed in man. He arrives at the conclusion that although reason influences the will, it is not meant to do so in order to supply any goods outside of its initial influence, "[reason'... ... middle of paper ... ...accruing to me or even to others, but because it cannot be fitting as a principle in a possible legislation of universal Iason exacts from me immediate respect for such legislation. 11 This means that if one's maxim clearly nullifies itself once applied theoretically on a universal level, the maxim, or the theoretic legislation, must be considered against that which is good. When considering the Platonic form of goodness, Kant's idea of the good will is similar in that it adheres to a theoretical universal, and that reason is essential to its discovery.
If the world did not have goodwill, then one may argue that no good can exist. Because people would not be willing to do good things unless for their own purposes. Harrison claims that,“A Kantian follower would say that the maxims are important because it gives us all a foundation for the differences between being morally good or bad”. If one can do an action in some sort that can be put into a universal maxim. Therefore, you are acting ethically.
From this idea of “a priori” concepts, Kant begins his thesis with the notion that the only thing in the world that is a qualified good is the “good will”, even if its efforts bring about a not necessarily good result. A “good will” is good because of the willing that is involved. Two main implications arise with this idea of the “good will”. The first implication is moral actions cannot have impure motivations. There are many impure motivations but Kant tends to focus mainly on the motives of the pursuit of happiness and self-preservation.
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.
At some point his idea makes sense. To live in a strict utilitarian society you would need someone to decide what the greater good would be for all. I would to some extent agree with him on that point. But the truth is we don't live in a utilitarian society. “A good will is not a good because what of effects or accomplishes because of its fitness to attain some proposed end but only because of its violati... ... middle of paper ... ...ately lights upon what is in fact in common interests and in conformity with duty and hence honorable, deserves praise and encouragement but not esteem; for the maxim lacks moral content, namely that of doing such actions not from inclination.” (Page, 11, Kant) Second, possessing and maintaining one's moral goodness is the very condition under which anything else is worth having or pursuing.
When he defines these moral rules, he characterizes them in the form of imperatives – the hypothetical imperative and categorical imperative. While hypothetical imperatives deal with motivations and actions that lead to a particular end, categorical imperatives are a product of rational behavior in human beings. Kant considers such categorical imperatives to be the moral basis for life. As a result, when a person who is “cold and indifferent to the sufferings of others’ does an action that elicits a positive response from someone by helping them, he is more morally worthy according to Kant. Such a person does this action even when he does not want or feel like doing that action.
The moral debates continued to see good as merely that which gives happiness or pleasure. "…it was assumed that what we ought to do is always a function of what it would be good to bring about: action can only be right because it produces good (J.B. Schneewind 'Modern Moral Philosophy'). It was the breaking away from this idea that was perhaps the most important aspect of the works of both Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and David Hume (1711-1776). Hume's moral theory arose out of his belief that reason alone can never cause action. Desire or feelings cause action.
However, if an unfortunate man, wishes for death and yet preserves his life - not from inclination or fear, but form duty, then his maxim indeed has a moral content. Moreover, Kant’s theory of duty can always be traced back to the theory of universalized maxim. According to Kant, “An action done from duty has its moral worth, not in the purpose that is to be attained by it, but in the maxim according to which the action is determined.” (Kant, pp12) Therefore, to sum up, an action has no moral worth if it is not done from duty, but just because an action is done form duty doesn’t necessarily mean it has its moral worth; the maxim that determined this action has to at the same time be able to become a universal law of
Kant does not believe reaching happiness is the main goal of life, but instead doing good with a sense of duty is. Kant says, “A good will is good not because of what it effects or accomplishes… it is good only through its willing, i.e., it is good in itself” (Kant, First Section). Kant’s claim is very strong because it doesn’t allow for any adaptations. From this, he creates two imperatives, the hypothetical and the categorical. Following the categorical imperatives is what eventually will make one virtuous because they are universal laws or commands to being
Patrick is a perfect example of Kant’s standard for morality by his action from and in accord with duty. In this essay, Kant’s theory will be explained and then applied to the actions of both Patrick and Doyle. Kant explores the good will which acts for duty’s sake, or the sole unconditional good. A good will is not good because of any proposed end, or because of what it accomplishes, but it is only good in itself. The good will that is good without qualification contains both the means and the end in itself.