Essay on Kant 's View On Moral Truth

Essay on Kant 's View On Moral Truth

Length: 999 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

What is the source of objective moral truth? Kant and Mill each have a compelling argument for what moral truth is and how to attain it, but is one view more solid than the other? To find out, first, we’ll explore Kant’s view and the categorical imperative. We’ll follow with a brief summary of Mill’s view and how it compares to that of Kant. We’ll then outline an objection to Kant and decide if Kant’s view holds up better than Mill’s despite that objection.
For Kant, moral truth is as basic as basic logic. Because of this, moral truths can be discovered through reason and do not have a source. But what makes an action morally right? According to Kant, an action can be morally right in two ways. If the action is performed from “duty”, or performing the action because it’s the “right thing to do,” then it is both morally right and morally good. An action cannot be morally good if the moral good is not the key motivation behind performing that action. In other words, if money or fame is the key motivation behind the action, the action cannot be morally good, but may still be morally right. Kant calls this acting in conformity with duty, or acting without a good will. Kant also states that consequences, intended or unintended, have nothing to do with whether an action is morally right. But that doesn’t answer the question of how we use reason to discover which actions are morally right.
Kant introduces a method for determining what is and isn’t morally right: the categorical imperative. The imperative states that we should never act except in such a way that it would be reasonable to will for everyone to perform the same action, at all times, and without exceptions. Kant then breaks it down into four steps. The first step is to formul...

... middle of paper ...

... Kant’s view is still able to hold up as a decent method for determining what is morally right.
While both views claim to achieve the same result, the two use contrasting methods. Kant’s categorical imperative gives the impression that it is both structured and simple to use. As long as the proposed action passes all four steps, then the action is morally right. However, some actions we deem to be right may turn out not to be due to the strictness of the formula. Mill states that consequences and happiness are essential to determining what is morally right. Unfortunately, Mill does not provide us with any kind of formula to measure these factors, and remains vague as to which consequences are to be considered. While Kant’s view has its flaws, it is not as vague as that of Mill, leading me to believe deontological ethics is a less problematic view than utilitarianism.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Kant 's Theory Of Moral Obligations Essay

- ... A maxim commonly contains three parts from which they are characterized by: the act, circumstance, and the purpose. Another aspect of Kant’s ethical outlook is the concept of lying. Immanuel Kant strongly believed that lying was always wrong in any situation. He established this principle on the fact that we ought to treat every human being as an end in itself, and never as a mere means. He considered that lying to someone is not regarding them as an end in themselves but clearly as a way for the liar to get what they want which would not be a virtuous action and end or purpose despite the difficult conditions one may be in at any given time....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Aesthetics]

Strong Essays
737 words (2.1 pages)

The Categorical Imperative And The Problem Of Truth Essay

- The Categorical Imperative and the Problem of Truth Kant’s argues that his Categorical Imperative (CI) or, more properly, his multiple versions of the CI are universal in the sense that they apply to everyone at all times. If the CI actually is universal in this sense, it fulfills one of the major traits necessary for a moral principle (Pojman 7). The vagueness of the CI, however, makes its universalizability hard to assess. To simplify the issue, this paper will examine Kant’s response to Benjamin Constant’s objections to telling a murderer the truth....   [tags: Morality, Truth, Immanuel Kant]

Strong Essays
942 words (2.7 pages)

Moral Ethics: Emmanuel Kant Essay

- Immanuel Kant believes that we act wrongly when we treat people merely as a means and not as an end in itself. According to Kant, “every rational being exists as an end in itself, not merely as a means to be used by this or that will at its discretion.” Every person is a rational being who can make his/her own choices. This makes everyone intrinsically valuable because everyone has his/her own free will. As a result, people should not be used merely as tools so that others can achieve their own objectives....   [tags: philosophical analysis]

Strong Essays
972 words (2.8 pages)

Aristotle And Kant 's Moral Judgement Essay

- Emotion is a part of what makes us human, so much so that often if someone lacks emotion they are considered non-human; like Frankenstein. In some cases this human characteristic on its own isn’t thought to mix well with moral judgement. With many views supporting this statement, is there still room in the moral code for both reason and emotion. An analysis of the role that the specific emotion empathy has in moral judgment helps explain this matter in Aristotle and Kant’s view; I prefer Aristotle’s prospective....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Emotion, Jean Piaget]

Strong Essays
1797 words (5.1 pages)

The Moral Point Of View Essay

- Ethics show you how to live a good life. In order to understand the ultimate good life one must evaluate different ethical theories to find one that fits them best. The Moral Point of View provides a structure for what a good theory should encompass. My position of the Moral Point of View is that it is essential; the theory from class that best approaches how to live a good life is the one that follows it closely. The Moral Point of View requires you to take into account the effect that your actions have on both yourself and others because we have duties and obligations to both ourselves and others....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Deontological ethics, Virtue]

Strong Essays
1500 words (4.3 pages)

Kant's Categorical Imperative Essay

- Kant's Categorical Imperative Deontology is the ethical view that some actions are morally forbidden or permitted regardless of consequences. One of the most influential deontological philosophers in history is Immanuel Kant who developed the idea of the Categorical Imperative. Kant believed that the only thing of intrinsic moral worth is a good will. Kant says in his work Morality and Rationality “The good will is not good because of what it affects or accomplishes or because of it’s adequacy to achieve some proposed end; it is good only because of it’s willing, i.e., it is good of itself”....   [tags: Philosophy Categorical Imperative Kant Essays]

Strong Essays
1532 words (4.4 pages)

Abortion Is Moral Or Ethical? Essay example

- Abortion is characterized as a planned end of a pregnancy and it has been a genuine moral issue for quite a while. There are distinctive differences in perspectives from civil arguments that give contentions on whether it is moral or ethical to end a fetus 's life amid a pregnancy and before the typical childbirth. These days, present day medicinal advances permit individuals to have a premature birth in view of their own wills and needs in numerous nations. Be that as it may, is it sufficiently moral to do as such....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant, Pregnancy]

Strong Essays
1222 words (3.5 pages)

Ethics And Morals : Moral Decisions Essay

- To find our moral decisions, we need to use logical evidence and theories to decide if our ethics and morals will allow us to harm an innocent child to create more happiness in the lives of others and our own. There are many different theories of morality that we can use to make this ethical decision. In this paper, we will look at many of the options and see how they are structured. Utilitarianism, Virtue Ethics, and Kant’s moral theory will all be put to the test and a decision will need to be made....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant, Human]

Strong Essays
1542 words (4.4 pages)

Ethical Decision Making : My Moral Compass Essay

- Introduction Although my moral frame work has been conditioned through thirty-three years of life experience, until this class I had not sought to define or categorize my ethical stance. The journey to finding a more exact definition of my moral compass begins with examination of my basic reaction to ethical decision making. I make habit of considering all perspectives, trying to really consider all sides. I constantly question my own reasoning and weigh all foreseeable outcomes against what I believe to be right and wrong....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Ethics, Morality]

Strong Essays
1009 words (2.9 pages)

Kant Political Leader Essay

- Kant held that nothing was good in itself except good will. In other words, no action, in and of itself, was either wrong or right. Only the motive of the actor lent the action its morality. If a person acted out of a vested interest (because of a possible consequence) then the act was non-moral—it had no moral implications whatsoever. But, if a person acted because she thought she was doing the right thing, then she was acting out of good will and the act was a moral act. In Kant’s view, actions have true moral worth only when they spring from a recognition of a duty and a choice to discharge it....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
571 words (1.6 pages)