Analysis Of Kant's Idealized Morality

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Kant’s Idealized Morality and Its Merit Charles Stevenson’s essay on emotivism, Ruth Benedict’s paper on cultural relativism, and Kant’s work on ethical theory offer interpretations of and opinions on the meaning of the word “good”. They also offer opposing sides in the debate in metaethics between subjectivity and objectivity in ethics. To determine which of these definitions has the most relevance and accuracy, all of these arguments will be outlined and consequently analyzed, both separately and in relation to each other. Their differences and similarities will be enumerated and described, consequently their merit will be discussed. In the end, Kant’s ethical theory will be proven to be inferior to both Stevenson’s and Benedict’s theories, …show more content…
Her main thesis is that the types of actions and beliefs that would fall into those two categories, respectively, varies widely among various societies and cultures (Benedict 318). Basically she claims that there is no objective standpoint from which one can judge an individual’s values as inferior or superior to one’s own. After discussing the highly variable nature of normality, Benedict goes on to link normality and morality by saying that “The concept of the normal is properly a variant of the concept of the good. It is that which society has approved. A normal action is one which falls well within the limits of expected behavior for a particular society” (Benedict 318). In relation to Stevenson’s conclusion that “good” is a persuasive term used to compel others to believe something, Benedict offers the opinion that “good” simply does not exist with an objective meaning, and that morality as whole is merely a set of relative socially approved beliefs and behaviors. Therefore, normality is the only thing that forms the basis of an individual’s concept of moral …show more content…
He says that a good will is intrinsically good, even if its intended ends are not realized (Kant 6). According to Kant, there are three obligations that a good will must fulfill. Firstly, a good will is only good if the actions that it causes to be taken are for the sake of duty, and duty alone (Kant 13). An action that is taken for any other reason, even if the action itself is identical to the one taken for the sake of duty, is not good. Duty is an overarching and all-encompassing obligation. Secondly, actions are evaluated not by their outcomes, but rather their intentions, or “maxims” (Kant 13). If an action is taken with a truly good will, then no matter what the consequences, that action was good. In fact, this could be no other way, given the first requirement; if an action were taken to bring about a particular result, then that action would have motivations other than pure duty. Thirdly, duties should be observed in accordance with the law (Kant 16). Kant alleges that any simple being could act out of instinct; only a rational being could both recognize a moral law and act as it dictates (Kant 16). However, if this is the case, then it begs the question of what exactly a moral law should be,

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