Rousseau And Kant's View On Freedom And Morality

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Freedom is the ability to behave, talk or think as one desires without obstruction or constraint. Nevertheless, freedom is naturally restricted by laws that secure our public safety. Some talk about freedom in a political sense, some talk about social freedom, some about personal independence and some define it as religious freedom. But the fact that everyone wants to be free, holds true in all cases. Rousseau believes people are essentially free because they only follow the orders of a power that is legitimate. Any power that is not legitimate will have no hold or control over man. We are at our most free in the state of nature. On the other hand, Kant believes we are free if we are moral, seeing that freedom and morality go together. For …show more content…
For a moral law to be valid and obligating, it must carry “absolute necessity.” Two important concepts to keep in mind that are central to Kant’s moral philosophy are good will and duty. Good will is a good without qualifications and a duty is the necessity of an action done out of respect for the moral law. The concept of morality is particularly important in relation to Kant’s views on liberty and freedom. Kant believes we can be free if we follow the moral law. He also reckons we need freedom to create an enlightened society and achieve happiness. However, how difficult is it to uphold the moral law? To answer this question from a Kantian point of view, any action performed must be done from a duty to the highest moral law in order to have any moral worth. What determines whether an action has moral worth or not is the maxim. Freedom ends when your choices begin to affect other people and morality is universal. We can’t disregard the freedom of one person to help one or many others. For instance, it would be wrong to kill one healthy individual to distribute her organs to several sick people, even if doing so would save lives. To explain better the concept of freedom under Kantian rule, I must describe the categorical imperative as well. First and foremost, an imperative is the formula of of the command of practical reason and it is expressed in two ways: hypothetically or categorically. A hypothetical imperative is the practical necessity of a possible action as a means for attaining something else; it is result-oriented. Meanwhile, categorical imperative represents an action as necessary in itself without reference to another end; it is good in itself. Categorical imperative is not concerned with the matter of action and its intended result but rather with the principle. For Kant, being moral is to follow the categorical imperative because an individual is separating morality from the pursuit of happiness. For

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