Kant's Metaphysics Of Morality Analysis

775 Words 4 Pages
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