Grounding For The Metaphysics Of Morals, By Immanuel Kant

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Immanuel Kant is steadfast in his belief that before anyone can do anything absolutely moral, they must reason what would occur if every person on Earth did this exact thing, or as he puts it, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 30). This philosophy seems sound, but is actually inherently flawed, as when it comes into conflict with his opinions on lying, it makes both points to be somewhat impossible to live by. It also does not account for different people operating in different situations all over the world, instead opting for some sort of absolute, infallible morality. This casts ethics in a disturbingly black and white…show more content…
Kant proves this by coupling it with the universal law, as one “can indeed will the lie but can not at all will a universal law to lie” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 15). He reasons this in an intellectual way, which leans heavily on the law of universalizability, as “by such a law there would really be no promises at all” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 15). He therefore reasons that this maxim “would necessarily destroy itself just as soon as it was made a universal law” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 15). Kant has therefore proved conclusively that lying is always wrong, but has only done so if his opinions on universal law remain…show more content…
Another, more obvious problem with the first step of the categorical imperative is the black and white nature of the world in Kant’s opinion. He simplifies morality to an extreme extent with no room for argument. For example, Kant believes that suicide is wrong, no matter what, because if this became a universal law, “one [would see] at once a contradiction in a system of nature whose law would destroy life by means of the very same feeling that acts so as to stimulate the furtherance of life, and hence there could be no existence as a system of nature” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 31). However, suppose there is a case in which a rich person has an abundance of food, and a poor person, on the brink of death from starvation, has none. Is it truly morally wrong for that person to take food? Can it really be said that this person has done a bad thing, when it is in the pursuit of survival, and comes at the cost of no one? In Kant’s opinion, yes, this man has had a moral failing, and I therefore argue that Kant has changed the makeup of what morality is, inventing his own rules for what is ethical without regard for the thoughts and opinions of other people in different situations from his own. Kant seems to deny the possibility of alternate viewpoints, and that some situations are much more difficult to deal with morally than others, such as in the case of the greater
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