Kant's View Of Morality

1600 Words 7 Pages
Kant and Hobbes had totally different understanding of the issue of morality. This disparity was informed by their varying thought systems. Kant took a more rationalistic view of morality, while Hobbes was more empirical in this regard. However, both proceeded from a subjective point. That is to say that they took a person centered approach to issues of morality. The aim of this study is to compare Hobbes and Kant with regard to their understanding of the foundations of morality. It also seeks to identify and explicate the points that advance the differences seen in them. The understandings of these two philosophers differ in terms of reason, understanding of human nature, as well as understanding of morality. This study will show the extent …show more content…
Following practical reason, Kant found that such an approach only revealed the imperative to obey desire based principles (Feldman, 1978). The Categorical Imperative was according to Kant not an instrumental principle (Paton, 1947). However, a conformity with this imperative was very important the rational agent. Kant has a very interesting understanding of morality. The will, which is very central to morality is totally independent from other wills, and as such cannot depend on any other for its determination. In other words, the will is totally free to create the laws that will bind it. This subjective understanding of morality rejects the conventional understanding which sets a framework of behavioral codes. By arguing along these lines, Kant is placing supremacy on reason, as opposed to passions (Paton, 1947). From these considerations, Kant argued that every person was equal with the other, because each had a free will, which was not determined by any other. According to Kant, it was important to act according to what was understood as right, rather than according to what was understood to be …show more content…
The sole aim of these laws is the preservation of the lives of the human persons. Morality is therefore created at the point of the making of the social contract. This understanding is informed by the fact that in the state of nature, before civilization, human beings are totally violent and hostile to each other, being in a state of war at all times. It became important therefore, that persons give power to a central figure, which would regulate the conduct of persons. In this respect, this figure is in the person of the leviathan (Hobbes, 1996). According to Hobbes, the reason why it becomes easy for people to come to a consensus regarding morality is that there is an inherent quest for peace, which is a result of an opposition of the constant conflicts and hostilities, which is the natural state of the human person. The social contract comes as a result of a surrender of some of the natural rights for the sake of peace (Hobbes, 1996). Morality as such does not exist before the making of the social contract. Strictly speaking, human persons have no moral principles; this is because the natural state is that of competition, and where fighting for supremacy is the primary reality. Therefore, the fundamental argument in Hobbes is that morality is a child of mutual consent, not desires (Malcolm,

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