Immanuel Kant and The Hypothetical Imperatives

Immanuel Kant an influential philosopher of deontological, or duty based, ethics. Kant believed actions are given moral worth, not by the outcome, but by the motive behind it, and the only way to act morally is one that comes about based on universal laws. There is a class of imperatives that we must do, despite the outcome. Kant called these "categorical imperatives," we can call these moral actions. We do them because we feel obligated, they are our duty, and we do so whether we like the outcome, or not. There is also "hypothetical imperatives," these are things we need to do to get a specific outcome. Kant states that if we believe that an action is moral that we could argue that it be a universal law.

I initiated and volunteered to help my father in his quest to sobriety because it was my duty. Taking this responsibility has pulled on my heart strings, and led to disappointment. My mom was not supportive in his sobriety, but that's your typical codependent in denial. I do feel that it was somewhat of a selfish act; I wanted him sober, and no hoop was too small to try and jump through. It was selfish, yet I knew I was the only one in his corner that was willing to fight and do what it took to get him there. My intentions were to enable my father to get sober, it was the right thing to do, and it was my duty, but it was an act of selfishness. Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosophers in the history of western philosophy. "In Kant’s view, the sole feature that gives an action moral worth is not the outcome that is achieved by the action, but the motive that is behind the action. And the only motive that can endow an act with moral value, he argues, is one that arises from universal principles disco...

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...on my emotions. "We might be tempted to think that the motivation that makes an action good is having a positive goal–to make people happy, or to provide some benefit. But that is not the right sort of motive, Kant says. No outcome, should we achieve it, can be unconditionally good. Fortune can be misused, what we thought would induce benefit might actually bring harm, and happiness might be undeserved." I believed my efforts would bring nothing but good, however, I damaged myself in the process of trying to help another being. Even though, my intentions were moral, it did not necessarily mean the outcome would be good. My motive according to Kant, was not the right kind of motive- I thought I was helping, I thought I would make myself and others happy, but in the end, my motive back fired and left me frazzled, disappointed, and my father still an alcoholic.

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