Since we know that the universal principle of morality is derived from a rational being’s will due to the Formula of Autonomy, we can therefore conclude freedom is the basis for the universal principle of morality. In a sense, rational beings are defined by our concept of freedom. As humans, we look at the world through the perspective of humans; what we know about the world is from observations and experiences. Therefore, we cannot know what the world is truly like. This may sound disheartening, and Kant admits that freedom is merely a concept we apply to ourselves as rational beings, and thus is something we can never be sure about.
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.
Using this, Kant concluded with the idea of autonomy, in which all rational human wills are autonomous, each individual is bound by their own will and in an ideal society, people should operate only according to their reason. Influenced by Kant’s ideas, an american writer by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his own call to individual morality through an essay on Self-Reliance. In “Self-Reliance”, Emerson tells individuals to trust in their own judgments, act only according to their own wills, and to use their own judgment to determine what is right. Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Kant’s autonomy differ to the extent of where reason comes from. However, they agree on its purpose in dictating the individual’s judgment and actions.
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.
Morality for Kant is determined by whether certain moral actions could be turned into a universal maxim. (Kant in Singer 1994). He argued that reason is the same at all times, and for all people, therefore morality should also be universal. In his works, Kant begins by arguing that the only virtue that can be good is a good will. Therefore, actions are only moral if the action could be described as a universal law, known as a categorical imperative.
It is our ability to make our own choices and be rational with the intention of creating good will. A person’s moral worth cannot determined by other people and their thoughts. It is our own rational thinking that determines our own result. Above all, it is the recognition of duty itself that must drive our actions. Our own reasons give us our own duties so that we can live up to the Kantian standards and fulfill our duty as being a rational, successful human
According to the CI, it is an absolute necessity, a command that humans should accord with universalizable maxims to treat people as ends in themselves and exercise their will without any concerns ab... ... middle of paper ... ... In conclusion, Kant, Arendt, and Mill hold different moralities. The three philosophers all have different ways to analyze and perceive ethical principles. They all base their views on varying concepts of morality. Kant’s deontological ethics is grounded on concepts of duty, the categorical imperative, and good will.
Therefore, the morality of a maxim is determined by its functioning as a universal law, applicable as a general rule to every rational agent. Since a moral will must be so in virtue of its form alone, the will must be capable of a purely formal determination; that is, it must be possible for a man to act in a certain way for the sole reason that willing in this way is prescribed by a universal law, no matter what the empirical results will be. A will to which moral considerations apply must be, in the strictest sense, a free will, one that can function independently of the laws of natural causality. The concept of morality, therefore, has to be explained in terms of a universal moral law, and the ability to will in obedience to such a law leads us to postulate the freedom. The freedom which Kant is talking about, is not only a negative freedom consisting in the absence of constraint by empirical causes, it is also a positive freedom which consists in the ability to make acts of will in accordance with the moral law, for no other reason than that they are in accordance with it.
The moralities of principles according to Kant are the ones that make authority internal to oneself. These theories are actually found within oneself and acts as a voice of reason, it is not imposed upon one by God or by society. Furthermore, Kant believed that morality is in all actuality is a matter of rationality and reason in which the justification of moral principles are entirely autonomous. He defined this personal autonomy as the capability of realizing what is right and what is wrong through the use of reason. However, reason for Kant is objective and prescribes universal and necessary laws and duties.
Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral you might as well not make the promise. You must follow a certain code in order to find truth behind your actions. Kant believed that you should treat everyone with value, dignity, and respect. Our reasoning ability will always allow us to know what our duty is. 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.