Immanuel Kant addresses a question often asked in political theory: the relationship between

900 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
Immanuel Kant addresses a question often asked in political theory: the relationship between practical political behavior and morality -- how people do behave in politics and how they ought to behave. Observers of political action recognize that political action is often a morally questionable business. Yet many of us, whether involved heavily in political action or not, have a sense that political behavior could and should be better than this. In Appendix 1 of Perpetual Peace, Kant explicates that conflict does not exist between politics and morality, because politics is an application of morality. Objectively, he argues that morality and politics are reconcilable. In this essay, I will argue two potential problems with Kant’s position on…show more content…
116) Because Kant views politics as the application of morality, any conflict in the application would undercut the merit of morality and rights and make it self-serving and egocentric. Kant claims that a moral politician is conceivable, but a political moralist is not. He identifies these two to illustrate that it is inherently wrong to modify the doctrine of morality for the sake of strong politics. A potential problem in Kant’s position is that he views humans objectively. Kant argues that emotions as moral motives are unsuccessful and without a good will, even good qualities and emotions such as intelligence or perseverance may well become harmful and contemptible. He claims that acts are only done from duty that have moral worth and asserts that motivation by emotion cannot be morally good. The only emotion excluded from this claim is respect for the moral law, as it is the only emotion involving recognition of the determination of the will by the moral law. His ideology of morals presents several issues: if all duties are absolute then it cannot aid in resolving conflict of duty. It also disregards moral emotions such as empathy and remorse as relevant and ethical reasons for action. However, Kant admits subjectively, there can be conflict between moral and politics in the sense of people’s self-interested inclinations but insists that they are

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