Analysis Of Kant's Moral Reasoning

Superior Essays
In this paper, I will discuss Kant’s moral reasoning, both broadly and in terms of a case study, and elaborate on some issues with Kantian ethics. The core of Kant’s ideas on morality is his statement that "nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good without qualification, except a good will". He defines this good will as “the will which acts from freedom and respect for the moral law”, meaning that one must choose by their own volition to pursue morality. Kant believes the only purely good thing is this idea of good will. In saying this, Kant draws a line between good will and traits like happiness, wealth, and even health that are usually thought to be good. Instead he argues that the goodness …show more content…
He states that “it is a duty to preserve one’s life” and that most people also have an inclination to do so. For Kant, those who preserve their life because of this inclination have no moral import or worth. If, on the other hand, one “preserves his life without loving it and from neither inclination nor fear but from duty”, then their act of self-preservation has moral worth. Essentially, congruence between one’s desires and the moral law is a form of moral luck rather than the basis of a moral action. With this in mind, let us consider the following three cases to contextualize Kant’s ideas on morality:
Barry dislikes people of other races. If given his druthers he would not serve them at his restaurant. But, he believes that morality requires him to serve them. So, he serves everyone for that reason.
Larry really dislikes people of other races. If given his druthers he would not serve them at his restaurant. But, he believes that the civil law requires him to serve them and that he will be punished if he does not. So, he serves everyone for that reason.
Harry loves everyone. He serves people of all races in his restaurant because he enjoys having a restaurant where people of all types are
…show more content…
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

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