Differences Between Sympathy, Subjective Desire

Decent Essays
Introduction
According to Immanuel Kant, any action a moral agent commits out of sympathy or a subjective desire has no moral value, in turn, any action a moral agent commits out of duty or obedience has a moral value. Even when a subjective desire motivates an action to achieve a positive outcome, it is still considered morally worthless.
This paper will discuss the motivations and incentives behind actions committed by moral agents. It will also cover the differences between a subjectively or objectively motivated action and how moral value is assigned to these actions.

Sympathy, Subjective Desire and Actions
Actions are motivated and preformed with incentive, these are based on objective and subjective grounds; the only true moral incentive
…show more content…
346), these goals act as a means to guide society as a whole to the same general good. Moral Value of Actions
The ability for a moral agent to act rests on their possession of free will, this involves having a will to do something that is exempt from rules or regulations (Campbell, 1951, p. 442); these rules and regulations comprise of prescriptive and descriptive law; that which is imposed by the civil authority and that which the sciences intend to invent in order to understand daily events.
In order to determine whether a moral agent has free will, it must be questioned if a personal desire can be translated into an action (Campbell, 1951, p. 445); sometimes a moral agent is in a position where they can make this translation and sometimes they can’t.

Objective beliefs are completely independent of an individuals belief system and personal preferences (Lawandbioethics.com, 2015); both moral and non-moral standards are objective based on the viewer’s observation of the circumstances. These preferences and standards affect the moral worth of an action only if it is done from a place of duty (Rickless, 2004), and a sense of duty derives from an agent’s respect for the
…show more content…
134); this stems from the constant pursuit of a morally valuable and just life, basing decisions on this ideal can rule out the best possible outcome for others.

Kantian ethics are grounded on the dignity of rationality within nature; the nature of society is such that all moral agents should act in accordance with their duties and obligations (Wood, 1999, p. 3); one must obey the commands of the law even if the authority that dictates the law is unjust as it isn’t the agent’s job to dictate when to act and when to omit to act.
Conclusion
While Immanuel Kant condones actions committed out of sympathy and actions committed out of duty, he is found to prefer that all actions are committed out of a duty or obedience for a rule or law.
Moral agents are motivated by pre-existing factors that have formed through previous experiences, this affects how they decide to or decide not to act in any given situation. There are however, actions that a moral agent is expected to do regardless of their desires. These actions hold a certain moral value based on the outcome they bring about and the process the moral agent underwent to reach the outcome; this moral value is given based on the general goodness of the decision to action to outcome

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    This maxim calls us to respect others and ourselves as people with moral worth and dignity. Kant believed that since each human was born with the ability to ration, they therefore, are all creatures of moral worth. By avoiding the use of people as a mere means, we can guarantee that the action is morally worthy. In order to act with moral worth, we are called by the ‘Rights Test’ to “recognize human beings as valuable in and of themselves, regardless of their physical and mental attributes… or what they are worth to others” (Hamilton). Ultimately, a Kantian ethical framework does not emphasize the outcome that is achieved by an action, but instead, determines the moral worth of an action based on the motive behind it.…

    • 905 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The idea of each person ought to pursue his or her own self -interest exclusively to do in his life time for others is known as Ethical Egoism. In other words, ethical egoism states that (i) There are objective moral facts and (ii) An action is morally good if and only if it promotes my personal happiness and it is morally wrong if and only if that action hinders…

    • 737 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Rationality meaning one 's judge of values and one 's guide to action.“Settle, for sure and universally, what conduct will promote the happiness of a rational being.”( Kant) Kant first starts by arguing that we are indeed responsible for what we do. The actions that we take are not just a set of events that we have no control over. Other philosophers believe that they are just another set of events that are determined by the things we cannot control. He also bases morality as a matter of duty that is common sense. Whether we feel against or not we know the morally right thing and it’s our duty to care out our action.…

    • 881 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It involves assessing what the people perceive to be moral and taking actions which will produce insignificant consequences on the people other than the individual performing the act. REGARDING EITHER THEORIST 6. As provided by Kant on his ethical theory, the standard of living an ethical life entails carrying out the logical reasoning behind the actions which are perceived to be moral. Kant argued that it is not a matter of following what the norm have stated to be moral but rather questioning the reason behind taking certain actions (Ross 37). Mill on the other hand in his utilitarian ethical theory based standards of living an ethical life on the ability of one to achieve maximum happiness from the…

    • 1177 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Theories Of Virtue Ethics

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages

    There are certain rules which have the value of right or wrong, and we perform those rules out of an obligation to do the right thing. Immanuel Kant’s ‘Categorical Imperative’ is one such rule developed to address the question of justice by requiring us to always treat others as ends in themselves and also by ensuring we always act as if our own actions will be adopted universally. In other words, always do to others as you would like others act towards you. Kant argued that if we obey this rule then we achieve justice. the kind of deontological approach exemplified by Kant, and also in Rawls (1971) account of justice, fails to say exactly what social goods or justice are, or what it is that we owe to each other.…

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Free In Morality

    • 1218 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Morality and responsibility are two complementary concepts, one is the obligatory result of the other. Human beings engage in acts of moral code from one side and non-moral rules from the other side in social life. The basic questions of philosophy are, Is there a purpose of moral action? And Is man free in moral actions?. By the end of this essay, I`m hoping to show that human beings are responsible for their actions and also moral actions by proving how free-will and determinism works in this concept.…

    • 1218 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The first proposition states that in order to have moral worth, an action must be done out of moral duty. The second proposition states that the moral worth of something is determined by an act of willing. This is essentially just doing the right thing regardless of whether your actions are rewarded. The final proposition talks about how moral worth states that moral duty is done because of a respect for the law. This is an example of a maxim.…

    • 1228 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Act Utilitarianism

    • 1234 Words
    • 5 Pages

    He believes that the good will is the only good without restrictions. The goodwill is characterized to be “good-in-itself.” He establishes moral decisions on the structure of an agent by good incentives, aspects and appreciation of the law. A moral agent would do a specific action not because of what it creates, as with past experience, but that they will understand by reasoning that that specific action is the morally correct thing to do. The rule that Kant requires for self-sufficient motives and that it applies to everyone is categorical imperative. This gives us a way to figure out moral actions and to make moral reasoning.…

    • 1234 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Kant believes that the action of duty has moral worth and if we were to avoid the doubt and have the lack of belief of our ethics, it must be rational based, unconditional. The good will in the act of duty is “good with-in itself”. Kant describes ethics as action as any sort…

    • 864 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In philosophy, there are ethical systems in place to help identify what would ideally be considered a universally accepted basis for morality. These systems follow ethical beliefs which philosophers categorize under different sets of moral rules. Two very important examples of these moral systems are Consequentialism and Deontology. They are two different strategies which attempt to identify what morality is really about by outlining the different values of what makes a good and ethical person. Deontology determines morality based on laws which are followed with the intent of being a good person not to be overly concerned with consequences, whereas Consequentialism focusses more on the results, because the belief is that the end will justify…

    • 929 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays