Kant And Aristotle 's Views On Moral Virtue Essay

Kant And Aristotle 's Views On Moral Virtue Essay

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Philosophers Immanuel Kant and Aristotle have presented different accounts of what it means to be morally virtuous. Kant believes that inclination or desire is irrelevant to moral virtue, however, Aristotle believes that they are relevant to each other. I will argue that Kant presents the more convincing account of moral virtue.
There are three philanthropist cases that can be critiqued according to Kant and Aristotle. The first case involves a happy philanthropist who donates money to a cause and spreads joy around her. From doing these actions, she is receiving publicity and an increased social reputation, which is leading to her happiness. The second case is about a dutiful, yet cold philanthropist who has no sympathy in her heart. She doesn’t care about the people around her but gives to them anyway and does not receive pleasure or happiness from these actions. The third case involves a happy, dutiful philanthropist. He donates to others because he feels it is the right thing to do, and receives pleasure from it. He does not receive publicity or social reputation but finds happiness in purely helping others.
Kant’s teachings focus on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, and he believes that happiness can inspire pride. This may be connected with riches and power, both of which are not related to having a good will. Kant believes that those who have a good will are worthy of happiness, but happiness is not guaranteed. These Kantian views of how inclination is irrelevant to desire can be applied to the three cases. For the first case, Kant says that the happy philanthropist shows no moral worth. This is because the philanthropist is only donating for their social reputation and inclination instead of because they b...


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...on is helping others and spreading joy, it doesn’t matter whether they are striving for social reputation or happiness. Their motives should not play a role in whether they are considered virtuous or not. For example, a man may decide to volunteer at a soup kitchen only because he wants his friends to think highly of him. I think that this is morally virtuous because even though his only motive was to gain publicity and social reputation, in the end he was helping to provide food for needy people. Since he was helping others, it’s irrelevant how he felt while doing it. This is similar to Kant’s view on the dutiful, yet cold philanthropist because it doesn’t matter whether happiness is achieved or not, it is only important that an action was done that can benefit others in the community. Therefore, I agree with Kant’s view that this philanthropist is morally virtuous.

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