Nietzsche And Immanuel Kant 's Philosophy Of Moral Law Essay

Nietzsche And Immanuel Kant 's Philosophy Of Moral Law Essay

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Between philosophers Nietzsche and Immanuel Kant, we can conclude that Nietzsche has different views in which a man lives his life. According to Kant, we as human beings must act and live according the moral law. However, in regards to Nietzsche, he rejects the notion that there is a moral code for everyone and insists that each individual is able to see that there is no objective morality. Nietzsche’s greatest criticism of Kant’s philosophy of moral law, stems from his emphasis and use of the idea of the “overman”, which forms his opinion on liberal democracy (Hamilton-Bleakley).
In order to understand Nietzsche’s critique of Kant’s philosophy, we must first understand what it is that Kant emphasizes in his theory of morality. For, “it is a duty to preserve one’s life” (Groundwork pg.389), therefore a duty is an action with moral worth; whereas motives of inclination on the other hand are not actions of moral worth. According to Kant, by acting out of moral duty we as humans fulfill the moral law to which we act out of respect for it. The moral law, which is also known as the categorical imperative, is Kant’s notion that man acts based on a, “universal maxim” without conditions (Groundwork pg.392). Kant’s notion of a categorical imperative is associated with objective ends. In other words, it declares what is right, not for individuals, but for mankind as a whole. Humanity, which comes from Kant’s notion of the categorical imperative, is understood, “as an end, never as a means” (Holtman pg.105). That is vital in comprehending Kant’s proposal that we as humans are the only beings capable of acting on the basis of policies or plans (Johnson pg.21), or in accordance with moral law. Unlike animals, humanity to humans is not somethi...


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... conclusion, Nietzsche does not agree with the notion of liberalism or the establishment of a liberal democracy because of the subjectivity of man to the universal law rooted within and the law that binds man to the herd of liberalism.
Nietzsche’s critique of Kantian moral law and liberal democracy as an establishment comes from not only his lack of agreement with religion, namely Christianity, but also his belief that man’s purpose is not within himself but beyond himself; also known as the overman. According to Nietzsche, democracy is equivalent to a “waning type of man” (Beyond Good and Evil pg.129). With this being said, the conclusion I have drawn concerning Nietzsche’s critique of Kantian morality is that true freedom is surrendered under the rule of liberal democracy, similar to how it is relinquished when man lives by way of the moral law as put forth by Kant.

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