Kant's Metaphysics Of Morality Analysis

Good Essays
In the second chapter of Groundwork For the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant aims to move from the popular moral philosophy in order to establish a metaphysics of morals. Kant 's main opponents in this chapter are the philosophers of self-love. These philosophers argue that everyone is motivated by their rational self-interest. This viewpoint is dangerous to Kant; both supposedly moral acts and immoral acts come from the same source and are therefore indistinguishable. This viewpoint is also dangerous to him as it implies that reason is entirely slave to the passions; we can only act in a certain way if we have an interest in doing so. If an individual does not have an interest in keeping a promise he should and will not keep it. Kant aims to …show more content…
To Kant, the proprietors of self love make a category mistake by basing their viewpoint on empirical psychology; happiness is contingent and therefore are not capable of being commandments of reason (Kant 329). Imposing empirical principles for morality is dangerous because the unconditional purity of the prescription is ruined; the will can no longer behave autonomously (Kant 340). This is because reason is a priori and necessary. For Kant, the idea of an a priori power of reason that determines the will precedes all contingent, empirical factors; this will must apply to all possible rational beings (324). The psychology of human beings is irrelevant in the question of the existence of a morality based off of …show more content…
While Kant manages to succinctly demonstrate that all our actions could not be done out of rational self-love, he does not question the notion of action itself. It is entirely possible that the conscious motive or intention had nothing to do with why the action was performed. Unconscious factors (Freudian drives or biological impulses ) could have been the primary causes for the action; the self willing the action could simply be a secondary after-effect; internal mental states and the "self" may not actually exist. Considering the vast amount of problems contemporary philosophers have with the thing-in-itself (which is needed for the possibility of freedom), hard determinism seems difficult to avoid. The existence of the will itself poses a problem for

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Kant pronounced the need of the set of tenets of behavior and regulations which would give us the chance to settle on the right decision. This capacity to choose which looks like freedom from the first site swings to be a liability on the shoulder of the humankind as opportunity means obligation. Kant states that better or more terrible, activities can be performed to accomplish the more terrible or better result and this places us in the position of good situation where picking worse, one can hurt others and the other way around. Also, the activities we perform after these reflections and contemplations are resisted as moral activities by Kant. Moral activities for him are the activities, where reasons stay sooner than takes after and…

    • 1016 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    There still however appears something wrong in doing so. Clearly Kant’s intention was not only to universalise, but to generalise the situation, to be able to compare one moral action to another. By introducing specificity into such rules, even if they allow us to get around Kant’s absolutism, we kill the ethic through an overburdening number of exceptional instances. This seems distant to Kant, such criticism should only require one to state that there is in fact a right and wrong way to rephrase an argument, and any way which includes specificity doesn’t follow the correct…

    • 1421 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It seems that to be moral in the Kantian sense, one must be going against their own desires. In the aforementioned case, this is the point of contention between Barry and Harry. In fact, in the Kantian sense, it would seem contradictory for one to gain satisfaction from being moral because then one would be pursuing morality for a desire rather than a sense of duty. In this way, it seems that Kantian morality is treated as a burden rather than an enjoyable endeavor. In the end, I think this gap leaves one question that goes unanswered by Kant’s approach: why should man behave in a moral…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Kant believes that every person has rights and their own autonomy, so lying to them is treating them as a mere thing. There is no valid reason to lie about this action other than the fact Pat most likely regrets it, and fears losing Chris. Therefore, this maxim cannot be applied as a universal law, because it is rationally incoherent to make a maxim a law that is based off of self-interest. Since it cannot be applied universally, and telling Chris the truth would have greater moral worth, it is concluded that according to Kant’s Categorical Imperative Pat should tell Chris that she cheated out of respect and to follow her duty to him as his significant…

    • 1356 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In other words, he is one of those philosophers who believe religions should not be used to determine what is good. Kant thinks to determine what is right we must take different things into consideration. These include reasonings and consideration of others. He theorizes that being good should be a legal obligation, and one should not be done because of pleasure, rewards or consequences. This leads us to the question; how would we know what is moral?…

    • 740 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    According to David Hume, morality is something that is unable to be created via reason alone. Primarily since because ideologies are incapable of motivating us enough to act. As result, according to Hume, morality comes from emotions. Our emotions make the judgment on what is right or wrong, and that leads us to approve or disapprove of the act. We may reason why exactly or the many different scenarios where an action or duty may appear moral at first glance, what W.D.…

    • 1013 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    When he [Kant] begins to deduce from this precept [i.e. CI] any of the actual duties of morality, he fails, almost grotesquely, to show that there would be any contradiction, any logical (not to say physical) impossibility, in the adoption by all rational beings of the most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. All he shows is that the consequences of their universal adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur. Here Mill considers of consequences in moral action, as we will see, Mill’s consequentialism rather than Utilitarianism is the direct charge made to Kant, these two notions are not same, the utiitlirms principle is seek happiness and avoid pain, precisely moral action would be conducted on maximizing happiness and minimizing…

    • 1235 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    For Kant to determine that an agent can arise at a decision independent of causality does not seem possible. Furthermore, Kant has presupposed characteristics upon a world he previously remarked could not be understood by humans. The noumenal world therefore is a theoretical construct with no basis in reality. However, to remark that humans are wholly governed by causality is a rather disconcerting…

    • 1774 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Kant says that an action cannot be deemed as completely moral if it cannot be universalised. The principle is very just as it rules out the possibility of making exceptions for yourself, obligating you to keep your promises and act towards a certain moral standard. For example if you needed to lie in a situation, you need to think what if everyone lied? The situation would result in chaos and the whole idea of truth being questioned too, as human relationships need trust to function the causality of lying would mean trust would be impossible. On a grand scale, lying is typically associated with being negative but sometimes lying is used in our daily lives to be more moral e.g.…

    • 1607 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In relation to lying, Kant is concerned that the action cannot be universalized. Kant believes actions should be universal because those actions are assisting in the function of society. An immoral action does not help the action function well. In the case of lying, the trust necessary to form a society is eroded and the society cannot function. Thus, lying is an action that cannot be morally permissible.…

    • 1751 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays