In the present paper, I will expose Kant’s moral precepts and the importance of duty in his Deontological principles. Then, I will evaluate Arendt’s report on Adolf Eichmann to analyze the ways in which his actions were in accordance to or against Kant’s moral philosophy. I will conclude my discussion with an evaluation of Mill’s approach to morality in order to examine the differences between his teleological philosophy and Kant’s ethical principles. Kant’s moral philosophy is based on the categorical imperative (CI), good will, and duty. 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 ... ...
Kant proposes three formulations the Categorical Imperative in his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Moral, the Universal Law formulation, Humanity or End in Itself formulation, and Kingdom of Ends formulation. In this essay, the viablity of the Universal Law formulation is tested by discussing two objections to it, mainly the idea that the moral laws are too absolute and the existence of false positives and false negatives. The first formulation of the Categorical Imperative is defined by Kant to "act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”. Good moral actions are those of which are motivated by maxims which can be consistently willed that it’s generalized form be a universal law of nature. These maxims are otherwise known as universilizable maxims.
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. As such, it does not consider the details of circumstance and holds true universally, because it relies solely on a priori concepts. I will further explain Kant’s formulations of this imperative momentarily. Now that we have just seen the first type of imperative,... ... middle of paper ... ...aw. Kant rewrites this concept of universalizing maxims to determine duty in a second formulation that, while tests actions differently, he believes leads to the same moral conclusions.
Therefore, actions are only moral if the action could be described as a universal law, known as a categorical imperative. A maxim according to Kant is to act in a way that we would will the action to be a universal law, as opposed to the hypothetical imperative which demands that we act to achieve a certain ends. (Kant in Signer 1994). Therefore, we to act morally good, we sho... ... middle of paper ... ...nature and is a game we play, yet it has its own rules that we must abide by if we are to exist in a society. So why do what's morally right?
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 proposes a test that ensures that humanity is treated with respect, and not used merely as an instrument. To understand how he defines this test, we must first take a look at the foundation of his main principle, the Categorical Imperative. Kant’s way of determining morality of actions is quite different from other philosophers, and many find it extremely hard to grasp or implausible. The central concept of his basic test for morality found in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is the categorical imperative. “The representation of an objective principle, insofar as it is necessitating for a will, is called a command (of reason), and the formula of the command is called an imperative”(Kant, 24).
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.
Kant argued that the rational will is always autonomous; hence, he states that the morality principle is a law of autonomous will. That is, Kant’s moral philosophy is centralized on a conception of reason that goes beyond being a slave to passion. Behind this self-governing reason, Kant thought that there existed decisive grounds that made everyone possess equal right and respect. In summary, Kant believed that the even if our actions are wrong or right the consequences do not matter provided the actions fulfill our duties and the CI is a determinant of our social du... ... middle of paper ... ...d Anscombe , Elizabeth . "Kantians Ethics."
For instance, both philosophers recognize that morality needs to follow a set of moral rules. These rules for Kant are referred to as “duties” and “subordinate principles” for Mill (Kant, 2005: 37; Mill, 2011: 26). In addition, both philosophers provide that morality tends to be stimulated by something. For Kant, morality is in part about fulfilling a duty to humanity. Whereas for Mill, the purpose of morality is about overall happiness.
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.