The Objectivity and Rationality of Morality

Better Essays
The Objectivity and Rationality of Morality According to Kant morality is rational and objective. It is based on

rational human reasoning. For Kant it is not the consequences of an

action that make it moral but the reasoning or intention that goes

behind the choices one makes. What Kant is saying is that the only

thing which can be qualified as good is good intention. When the

intention behind an action is good, (what Kant calls the Good Will)

then the act is morally plausible because it is being done out of

duty. The will in this sense is seen as the power of rationale behind

a moral choice and out of this is borne the dignity of man. On the

other hand, acting out of inclination (emotions) is not moral because

it is either based on self interest or because one is bound to do so

by his conscience.

Acting out of duty in Kant’s point of view is acting in respect to the

moral law which is determined by what he calls the “Categorical

Imperative”. The Categorical Imperative is bound by three basic

principles which state that before an action takes place there is the

need to consider the maxim on which one is acting. If this maxim is

generalized, would it continue to make sense? Does it contradict

itself? Would you choose to live in a world where everyone follows

this maxim? If not, then it is wrong to use such a maxim as the basis

for an action. This essay seeks to address the issue of what is

morality and whether it is determined by duty or inclination.

Morality is def...

... middle of paper ...

... yield. As such Kant may be justified to an extent in saying that most

of our action are carried out in self –interest.

More so it can be said that there exist a significant minority of

people who can be said to have achieved a higher sense of morality and

as such do things without reasoning or a sense of duty to moral law

but out of what they personally believe to be right or wrong.


Warburton Nigel, Philosophy: The Classics

Leo Strauss, History of Political Philosophy

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Jeremy Bentham (1998) “The Principles of Morals and Legislation”

New York; Prometheus Books


The Wikipedia Encyclopedia
Get Access