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20 Cards in this Set

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Features of Kant’s argument ?


is a priori as it starts from an a priori point, leading to a posteriori evidence to support it.


• His argument does not attempt to prove God exists, but points to probability of God existing.


what are his ideas about morality


idea of ‘the moral law within us’ as evidence for this.


• ‘Good will shines forth like a precious jewel.’ Kant

What are the Three Postulates of Morality


• Freedom - an action is only moral if you carry it out at your free will.


• Immortality - virtuous actions aren't always rewarded with happiness, they can sometimes result in pain. Perfect virtue can lead to perfect happiness so it has to exist, it may not happen in this life so it must in an afterlife.


• God - humans can achieve immortality in the afterlife, so God has to be the connection between virtue and happiness (summum bonum).

Why did he think Humans are Moral


• Humans carry out virtuous actions because we feel it is our duty, not because we expect a good outcome.

How is morality linked to summon bonum?


• we all have a sense of innate moral awareness therefore from this we are under obligation to be virtuous. An average level of virtue is not enough, we are obliged to aim for the highest standard possible and that true virtue should be rewarded with happiness. This happiness is called Summum bonum.

If you carry out a virtuous action what does it not necessarily mean ?

•that it will lead to happiness, but a virtuous action will be rewarded with happiness one day.


• When happiness and virtue come together, you call this the Summum Bonum.

The Summum Bonum is difficult to achieve in just one lifetime so?


there must be an afterlife in which it can be gained

why are Moral statements prescriptive ?


therefore ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. It is beyond u to ensure that we are rewarded with happiness therefore there must be a God who had power to ensure that virtue and happiness coincide.

what happens If this life is all there is?


then, justice is not done, and so moral behaviour is not rational. There had to be something more thus Kant stated that in the afterlife God will reward us. God is the only Supreme Being who is able to make sure human virtue and happiness coincide together.

what happens If this life is all there is?


then, justice is not done, and so moral behaviour is not rational. There had to be something more thus Kant stated that in the afterlife God will reward us. God is the only Supreme Being who is able to make sure human virtue and happiness coincide together.

Kants argument for the existence of God follows:

1. We all have a sense of innate moral awareness – from this we are under obligation to be virtuous


2. An 'average' level of virtue is not enough, we are obliged to aim for the highest standard possible


3. True virtue should be rewarded with happiness


4. There is an ideal state where human virtue and happiness are united – this Kant called the 'Summum Bonum'


5. Moral statements are prescriptive – 'ought' implies 'can'


6. Humans can achieve virtue in a lifetime but it is beyond us to ensure we are rewarded with happiness


7. Therefore there must be a God who has power to ensure that virtue and happiness coincide

What does Kant say to show that his moral argument does not postulate that God is necessary for morality but that God is required for morality to achieve its end?



'Therefore it is morally necessary to assume the existence of God.'

How did Sigmund Freud criticise Kant ?



• argued that morality was the product of the mind and not of any divine (godly) intervention.


• thought our sense of duty and moral awareness can be explained by socialisation.


• It has psychological causes.




• He argued that the mind regresses into the comforts of childhood, rather than face the awareness of an external force.

why For Freud, could our moral awareness not be of divine origin ?

because of the differing opinions on ethical issues – if it were morality would be absolute and we would all come to the same moral conclusions.

What did he think happened instead ?


Rather, our conscience or moral awareness is the super-ego of the mind, a 'moral policeman' developed during child hood (more specifically the third stage which is known as the phallic stage between 3 and 6 years old).


• If conscience is the voice of God as Kant believes you would expect it to be consistent.

What are the different principles


1) Id (pleasure principle) – expression of physical needs


2) Ego (reality principle) – we learn to regulate our needs in accordance with our surroundings


3) Super ego – internalised echoes of the past, the conscience is a component of this

Morality for Kant and Freud?


Kant – morality is something everybody reasons for themselves



Freud – our superego is the result of experience and upbringing

Weaknesses of Kant



• situations where faced with two competing moral obligations - which universal law should we follow?


• Kant said that morality is based in reason alone. Reason does not involve 'inclinations' (emotions and desires). BUT, to perform a moral act, we must have the desire to perform a moral act


• Should we still 'Never Lie' even if a murderer asks us to tell him where a fellow student is?

What does Kants argument fail to do?


• It tells you what types of actions are good, but it does not tell you what the right thing to do is.


• Kant argued cultures agreed on the moral law but societies have different ideas of what is right and wrong


• It is an argument of probability and not certainty = we will not know if the summum bonum exists until we die

Strengths of Kant


• Freud argues morality doesn’t come from God, but there is no proof it comes from the super-ego


• Maybe God gave us the super-ego


• Kant sees humans as being of intrinsic worth and dignity