Immanuel Kant 's Metaphysics Of Morals

897 WordsNov 24, 20154 Pages
In Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals, Kant argues that one’s duty requires an individual to act against one’s inclinations, wants and desires, in order to achieve a higher moral worth. For Kant, the concept of duty is something that you ought to do despite not wanting to, assuming the duty is possible. A duty contains the concept of good will, or acting on one’s duty, against one’s inclinations, which is how moral worth is achieved. In order for an individual to achieve a higher moral worth, he must not act out of any inclination beyond his duty. Likewise, an individual should only act on a maxim that at the same time he wills to be universal law, common knowledge, as explained by the categorical imperative In our example, there are two shopkeepers, who are faced with a decision regarding how to give proper change to an unaware customer). The first shopkeeper gives his customers their correct change, which conforms to his duty. While on the surface it might appear that the first shopkeeper is doing what his duty requires him, he is only doing so out of inclination and is acting out of self-interest, it is good for his business and reputation, not from moral obligation. So, for Kant, shopkeeper one does not achieve a higher moral worth from his actions. However, in this hypothetical, the second shopkeeper is inclined to shortchange his customers, but realizes that his duty prohibits him from acting on his inclination, so he does not shortchange his
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