Motives Of Duty And Moral Worth

700 Words 3 Pages
In Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant, 2005) state that only action done from the motive of duty have moral worth. Other philosophers such as Ross, consequentialists and virtue ethic would criticize this. In this essay, I would argue that not only actions from the motive of duty have moral worth.

According to Kant, the good is defined by the right and good will is when decision are determined by the moral law. This is because all other desirable quality of character are conditional good. For example, calm is a desirable qualities of character, but calm when a doctor is doing an operation and keep calm when a murderer commits a crime are used for the completely different purpose, although action keep calm itself is the same. So the
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Therefore, as an action only have moral worth is it expresses a good will, the only unconditional good, the action will only have moral worth if done from the motive of duty. For example, a shopkeeper keeps a fixed general price for everyone, not overcharge an inexperienced consumer. Kant said the shopkeeper will clearly not charge the fair price because he committed to the principle of honesty. It is for a purpose of self-interest because it is a way to decrease risk which could damage the reputation and benefit his business. This action is an “action in conformity with duty but not from immediate inclination” according to Kant (Sedgwick, 2008, p.60-62), and therefore not have moral worth. Similarly, people are self-loved so they take care of their life, this action is from duty but clearly, do not have moral worth. Whereas, in a slightly different situation, if a person is in a very tough condition and life …show more content…
Ross argues this from two points of view, firstly, he agreed that Kant is right that in order to make an act moral worth is must be done for the right reason. Kantianism over simplifies moral life which not only the duty the good consequence is also morally important. For example, if you see a kid is drowning in a river. According to Kant, you have a duty do save the child, therefore you should take the action and go to save the child. However, this does not mean you have the ability to do so, as Kant seems to treat what people as what people can do. If you cannot swim, then although you jump into the river for saving the child, but in fact, you are not able to save is and put your own in the risk too. Therefore, even your action of go saving the child is motivated by duty, it cannot be said that the action has moral worth. Second, “the good” such as virtue, are also important to give an action moral good. The plurality of moral prima facie duties and the plurality of intrinsic good are both important and cannot be

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