The philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant express the sources of virtuous and dutiful actions in a similar, yet different way. Both philosophers agree that an action has moral worth, when it is preformed for its own sake. However, the difference contains a more significant meaning. Aristotle believes that pleasure can be included when preforming an action; while Kant believes that a duty is preforming the right action without the need of inclinations.
Immanuel Kant states that the only thing in this world that is “good without qualification” is the good will. He states the attributes of character such as intelligence, wit, and judgment are considered good but can be used for the wrong reasons. Kant also states that the attributes of good fortune such as health, power, riches, honor, that provide one happiness can also be used in the wrong way (7). In order to understand Kant’s view of moral rightness, one must understand that only a good will is unambiguously good without qualification, it is “good in itself”. To clarify, Kant states that “a good will is good not because of what it effects or
Thus, the ends or consequences of an action never justify the means or motive of the action. So, if someone were to act morally right the end result of their action would not matter, whether it be positive or negative. Furthermore, Kant believes there is only one good thing in the world, good will. “A good will is an intention of a rational being which acts in accordance with universal moral laws that the human automatically and freely give themselves.” The good will is the only true good there is and goodness only comes when we act a certain way. Thus, people must contemplate their actions before they pursue them. Kant believed in a principle of morality called, The Categorical Imperative, which determines whether a moral duty is good or bad. In the Kantian ethics it is stated that, “a right act has a maxim that is universalizable” (Pence 11). Kant uses the word maxim which is a rule or principle you act on. So, this means our maxims should be something everyone is able to do, not making any exceptions for yourself. For example, keeping promises; if you want others to keep their promises you should be obligated to keep yours also. Additionally, Kant argues that “people are free only when they act rationally.” It is said that people act based on their emotions but Kant theory argues otherwise. Deontological theory states that we do not act morally because it is what we’re accustomed to but rather when we understand the rules and
Kant: It’s not only what you do that matters, but your motivation behind it as well. / Duty to do something depends not on the other’s rights, but on the rational assessment of what is the right thing to do based on the various types of relationships that you have with that person. / The only thing that is intrinsically good is the good will, rationality to do what is right for the right reason. / Good will is the only thing fully under our control. / Good will is being motivated to do what is good for the right reasons. The right reasons are ones that are rational. / Motivation should come from moral law or duty.
Kant said that nothing was good in itself except for a good will. By will he meant the ability to act from principle; only when we act from a sense of duty does our act have moral worth. We determine our duty by the categorical imperative. An example of good will would be to use the “Golden Rule,” do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Kant uses this to say that a person’s actions are reflected in their actions toward another person. As a person intends to do good to another person, that makes his effort fit within the categorical imperative. Kant believed that there was one command that was binding on all rational agents—the categorical imperative, that says that we must always act so that the maxim of our action can be consistently willed to be universal law. By maxim, Kant meant the principle or rule that people formulate to determine their conduct. If a maxim could
Immanuel Kant was a philosopher born in 1724 and is now considered to be a central figure in philosophy and ethics. He believed that our actions performed from our morals should be based on reason. He created a moral law that argues what should and should not be considered “good” actions. Kant’s article also talks about how our decisions and actions that are performed out of our morals, are the only pure good actions that we make because they are unselfish. He argues this because he believes that out moral duties are performed by reasoning and has nothing do with our emotions.
There are three main focuses when breaking down the difference between these important theories. One is based on duty and a fixed moral law (Kant), one is based on enlightened self interest, or what makes us all happy (utilitarianism), and one sees being good as an art that we learn (virtue ethics). A person will try to perform good deeds knowing they will receive a positive outcome. Same goes with a bad decision, thinking about how the result of ones actions and how it could negatively affect you may cause you think twice about your actions before you do them. Moreover, this is where our
All humans have some type of understanding of what good will is, as it is a reason or a determination of the proper thing to do at the right time or period. Rather than the human reaction to try and satisfy or make oneself happy, humans would be and should be more naturally inclined to make possible good will and being good which this will bring about unintentional happiness or satisfaction. Then Kant going on to explain that by using reason in a situation, humans would not be able to attain good will as reason cannot be used on a unconditional basis and that would cloud judgement.
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
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, at an absolute basic sense, aims at the title of this course: the good life. In an age where philosophy and ethics were not largely developed, Aristotle aims to provide a universal standard for human flourishing and happiness, or the good life. His main argument is that all of our actions and goals are aiming towards human flourishment, but that each action falls into a range of virtues, where excess is one extreme and deficiency is the other extreme. The virtue that we all strive for, he states, is in the middle of these. For example, temperance is a universal human virtue, with pleasures and pains as the excess and deficiency. He states that virtues can be developed and learned over time and through practice,
The texts of Socrates and Confucius examine what it means to live the good life. Although, the texts have similarities, especially in clarifying what the good life isn’t, their philosophies on how to obtain the good life differ greatly. Additionally, the two texts are even ambiguous on what living the good life truly means, so it is first necessary to identify what the good life is.
In Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant seeks to develop a clear understanding of moral principles. Qualities of character and fortune can be exercised for either good or bad purposes, and only the good will is naturally and inherently good. Humans are at once rational and natural beings; our reason and natural characteristics are distinct from each other. Kant suggests that we must choose either to follow our rational or natural capacities. Although man’s highest purpose may seem to be self-preservation and happiness, as rational beings our highest purpose is to develop this good will. Our instinct leads us to the pursuit happiness and self-preservation, but the will developed by our reason would be good in itself and
Kant heavily emphasizes his ideas of morality and how they are simply represented by a term he dubbed a priori. A priori is the thought that all moral ideas are already determined at birth. Any new ideas are simply practical, not moral. He is quoted as saying “[...] solely a priori in the concepts of pure reason; and that every other precept based on principles of mere experiences [...] can indeed be called a practical rule, but never a moral one,” (5). He remarks that mere experience is important as it helps to gain a
I can be certain that Kantianism is too radical. Yes, I agree that you must take action and responsibility for your task, but it should be held to an extent. Most Americans reflect this theory to their work ethic. For instance, prioritizing their jobs ahead of family. However, there will be instances where consequences would outweigh that. To simply, act as if a job you are being assigned to carries more weight than a consequence that could arise from neglect, it is just unacceptable. For example, if my job required me to clock in at 3pm, and while on my way, I receive a phone call that my mother has been taken to the hospital due to a horrible sickness. I would make the decision to rush to the hospital and ensure that everything is going to