Voltaire And Rousseau's Analysis

The argument between Voltaire and Rousseau is a byproduct of the Lisbon earthquake. The Lisbon earthquake becomes a notion of evil that no one can fully understand. It’s really the start of secularization in the early 18th century. Voltaire and Rousseau interpret the Lisbon earthquake in two very different ways both of which start to question man’s relationship with evil. Voltaire’s faith in a transcendental god is shaken. Voltaire doesn’t understand Lisbon. He’s furious at god for letting this happen and it begins to make him question whether or not god is actually benevolent. Although he still accepts a metaphysical god he begins to push away from the church. The Lisbon earthquake is a true turning point for man and a major shift in worldview …show more content…
The notion of individuality starts to become detached from the metaphysical. Kant takes sin out of the picture and brings reason and freedom back to earth drawing from Rousseau’s beliefs that man is at fault. He believes man is outside the causality of nature alluding to the idea that man is the first cause in a causal series. Kant’s main concern is moral behavior and autonomy of self. Kant’s interpretation of evil is defined by what an individual posits as a universal moral maxim. Kant believes that in order to be completely moral you must have your will and your willkur agree with each other and act accordingly to your will. He believes that you are committing an act of radical evil if your motives are in your own self-interest. To be moral a person must do his or her duty for duty’s sake. He takes out all prior feelings and emotions in order to not corrupt the integrity of morality. He tries so hard to stay away from a perverse selfish desire that he makes it logically possible to posit a moral maxim while also committing an act of diabolical evil. He is not interested in content instead, he gives rules of procedure, He believes that you make you “you”. The possibility to construct a universal maxim is to justify the actions of an individual. His guidelines to morality allow for a paradoxical course where a seemingly immoral act such as a suicide bomber can completely coincide with ethical principles within the guidelines he has set. The person evil in a case such as this would be a complex evil centered within the self but not realized with the self. The consequences do not matter to Kant. The ability to choose whether or not a person will act on what they know to be morally right and posit that into a universal maxim is the true meaning of freedom according to Kant. And this ability to choose which makes us free also makes us responsible. A person can be seen to obey the law and still

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