1960 Words8 Pages
In the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant undermines many of our moral certainties. Our Western philosophical tradition teaches that choosing the right path to virtue is in ones own hands. Aristotle’s understanding of virtue comes from our moral bearings, which are taken from exemplars of virtue. Kant’s idea of morality is sought from a single individual. Only few people are universally accepted as this ideal conception of morality, such figures like Gandhi or Jesus. Kant believes that we cannot derive this idea of morality simply from examples of those around us but we can only decide morality from a specific principle. This notion of morality is rooted from an idea that is not used by most individuals. He has little faith in…show more content…
If we loose this capacity to act freely, how does someone truly experience morality? To further explain this concept Kant uses two examples of how without categorical imperatives ones idea cannot become a universal moral law. His first example is a man who wishes to take his own life because he no longer finds any happiness. However, he questions the moral integrity of this action and whether that is a good rule in which to follow. In this case pain outweighs pleasure, and a sense of duty is imposed on oneself to stay alive. This contradicts the concept of a universal law of nature because this evil is outweighing a sense of satisfaction. Without this man’s understanding of imperative his result outweighs his actions (422).
The second example that Kant uses with this idea of self-love is whether one should borrow money when in need, knowing that he will not be able to pay it back (422). Giving a false promise violates the universal law of morality. Using someone as a means to improve ones ends is by definition an immoral action. This example that Kant uses, displays many hidden assumptions of how people act in any given situation. One would not want to universalize these codes because it is portraying a society of giving and taking. In the last example presenting someone else a mean does not present itself as a moral code, which should be followed. What one does is for the sole purpose of ones

More about Kant

Get Access