Immanuel Kant, one of the most famous western philosopher epitomized the Enlightenment’s faith in reason, the scope and limits of which were discussed in his important work ‘Critique of Pure Reason’. He argued that reason, unaided by experience cannot attain knowledge of that which is beyond the possibility of knowledge, for instance, existence of God unconditioned by space and time. Secondly, he also maintained that ‘practical’ reason had the ability of gaining insight into the nature of human freedom and regulative usefulness of ideas such as immortality of the soul and the existence of God.
Kant’s writings on ethics depict the classical formulation of deontological ethics: that right action consists wholly in the conformity of the action to a justified principle. In the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant tries to substantiate how his position provides a philosophical basis for what is already commonly understood by 'morality ' and 'moral action. ' I shall here first analyze the concepts of the Good Will, The Notion of Duty and the Nature of Imperatives (both Hypothetical and Categorical).
Kant establishes t...
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...es of etiquette. The force of the “stringency of our moral teaching” can be noted in the feelings associated with morality—feelings such as the inability to escape. In this light, both etiquette and morality bring about feelings of the inability to escape that can cause people to follow (or not follow) etiquette or morality without question. We cannot doubt the existence of these feelings, but these feelings are not ground enough on which we can declare moral judgments to be categorical imperatives.
The conclusion we should draw is that moral judgments have no better claim to be categorical imperatives than make statements about matters of etiquette. People may follow either morality or etiquette without asking why they should do so, but equally well they may not. They may ask for reasons and may reasonably refuse to follow either if reasons are not to be found.
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