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Morality And Kant's Theory Of A Free Will

Satisfactory Essays
Anyone or anything that is rational possesses will, whether it is a human being or a field mouse. Freedom is the property that this causality has. Thus, a free will can be defined as a will that can act causally without being caused by external sources. Any action not based on a form of law would be seen as groundless and unjustified and we then would not be able to say our actions were the result of our own will. Kant adds to this point by saying the laws we base our actions upon must be self-imposed. They cannot be imposed by outside sources because then, our actions would just be based on natural necessity; we would simply be reacting to external causes.
To see how Kant’s statement translates into saying an autonomous will is bound by moral law, we must first understand what morality is, and how one achieves it. Kant believes that morality is an a priori concept, or one that is independent of any experiences of the world. Morality stems from the idea of the ‘good will’, which Kant argues is the only thing truly ‘good’ in the world.
Rational beings can bring about their wills through imperatives, or rules that rational beings follow to necessitate their wills, whatever they may be. There are two types of imperatives: the hypothetical imperative and the categorical imperative. Hypothetical imperatives are based on subjective principles of personal desire and want, which is why hypothetical imperatives have no moral worth. The categorical imperative on the other hand is unconditioned and thus entirely a priori. It refers to actions that are not dependent on anything but are necessary in and of itself.
We can only achieve good will and thus morality by isolating our motives and desires and acting out of the sake of duty. To aid...

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...t freedom is the basis of a rational being’s will. 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. However, his argument allows us to understand that the fact that we govern ourselves under this Idea of Freedom shows that rational beings, at least in our perspective, are truly free.
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