Immanuel Kant and Moral Law

989 WordsJan 26, 20184 Pages
Third Paper: Kant According to Kant, an action can only be morally right when it is motivated by duty alone, as opposed to being motivated by duty and emotion combined or just pure emotion (Kant, Groundwork, 397). In order to defend this statement, I will begin with explaining Kant’s view of morality and what kind of judgments we make in order to discover what morality is and how it relates to the moral law. I will then proceed to explain how Kant defines duty and how it relates to having a good will. Finally, I will explain what exactly the moral law commands and tie it back in to why morally correct actions are purely motivated by duty. Kant’s moral philosophy lies somewhere between that of an empiricist and a rationalist. An empiricist believes that we gain knowledge about the world only through experience while a rationalist believes that we gain knowledge only through self-reflection because we are born with ideas that we simply need to pull out of our conscious minds (Drogalis, Lecture, March 10). Kant states that when we are attempting to understand morality and ethics we must use logic consisting of a priori truths that are realized through self-reflection (Kant, Groundwork, 387-388). While there are two types of a priori truths, Kant focuses on synthetic a priori truths that add additional information about a concept as opposed to analytic a priori truths that simply define a concept (Kant, Groundwork, 389). The reason that synthetic a priori truths are
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