As rational beings we are expected to act and behave accordingly for the sake of the moral good, but with practical reason. This then results in universal morality according to Kant. This was all defined under Kant’s categorical imperative. These imperatives are things that one “ought” to do according to Kant. Kant believed that following ones duty was not measurable by the end means, yet it “is good only through its willing”.
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 then claims that moral actions are supposed done for the reason of morality alone. This train of thought leads to the conclusion that an understanding of morality must be based on “a priori” concepts of reason. Truly moral ideas are then universally valid if and only if they are based on “a priori” concepts. 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.
Kant states in 4:399 in Section I of the Groundwork that to assure one’s happiness is a duty we all have. It is in these passages that George may find some redemption in terms of moral worth in his actions despite his belief that it is morally wrong for him to help others. It wouldn’t be so hard to imagine or suppose that helping his friend Arthur would provide George some degree of happiness. As Kant suggests, there is a law to promote his happiness but not from inclination but rather from duty. So it can be taken that George’s action to help Arthur, insofar as it provides him happiness, has proper moral worth despite the fact that he was raised to believe that it is morally wrong to ask for help when you are in need and wrong to provide help to others.
“Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness”. Two things that are not compatible are what an individual should do and what the individual wants to do. When an individual does what they want to do they end up in a road that will lead them into immediate happiness but will not benefit them in the long run. On the other hand when the individual is doing what they should do it will bring them a feeling of discomfort and unhappiness but will benefit them at the end. The purpose of Kantianism is to tell us that morality is not to make us happy but the whole purpose is to do the right thing just for the sake of doing it.
Immanuel Kant, a famous German philosopher, was influenced by Aristotle views in philosophy. In his work, the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, Kant argues his view for ethics, deontology. Deontology believe that it is our duty to be morality right. It also says that certain types of actions are wrong or right, but how are we positive of what is right or wrong? Actions are the result of our choices and we should base our actions on our choices.
Even though at the first glance, the two most influential philosophers in human history - Immanuel Kant and John-Stuart Mill seem to have a lot of disagreements on the central concepts of their moral philosophies – for example, while Kant is concerned more about the intentions of an action, Mill, on the other hand, believes that the consequences of an action are the only justification necessary for an act to be good or moral or right, they still have beliefs in common, such as the concept of the greater good and base their moral systems on a fundamental first principle. Among all those concepts, which Kant and Mill disagreed with each other, morality (what is good and right) is the most fundamental (essential) one. Kant, who is widely considered
Kant also believes that an action is right or wrong based solely on the reason by which it was performed. However, a Utilitarian, like John Mill, would reject Kant’s reasoning of originating good characters out of actions alone, and instead argue that if an action has bad consequences, then the action was morally wrong. Kant believes that an action has moral worth only if it is done out of respect for our moral code. He names this moral action a ‘duty.’ Kant also believes that in determining the moral worth of an action, we need to look at the maxim by which it was performed. So, we need to look at one’s reason for doing an action to determine if it is a duty.
Obvious -the word that perhaps succinctly defines the way Kant saw the truths of the world around him. Not so obvious are the arguments that lie within his writings. As he emphasizes the importance, yet confusing nature of reason in his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, he proves his own point by his reasoning processes. However, in this work he systematically develops his argument for a universal good- the good will, in which inclination, duty, and reason play crucial roles. In this essay I will explain Kant's reasoning behind his statement that the only true good, without qualification, is the good will, and consequentially determine whether his idea of good varies from the Platonic ideal of goodness.
In fact, even if that person acts justly because of the desire for happiness of others, Kant would say that a person’s actions have no moral worth. John Stuart Mill’s observation was that people misunderstood utilitarism as self-pleasure. Happiness should be varied as intended pleasure and absence of unhappiness. Mills states that it "… is not the agent's own greatest happiness, but the greatest amount of happiness altogether…” This leaves no room for opinion because then the greater number would not be contemplated. So who does Mills leave to decide to whom may plan what the greater happiness is?
People would have no proof if the person lied or not. In the end, I believe that Kantianism is still a valuable guide to behavior. The theory wants humanity to do the right thing, whatever the right thing might be, and if it brings satisfaction, then it is a bonus but satisfaction cannot be the premise of doing an action. However, Kantianism also has its flaws on what someone should do in a given situation and ultimately, causing the theory to self-contridict. As any theory, it is a good guideline but it should never dictated one's life.