Kant's Categorical Argument Essay

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Kant's Categorical Argument Emanuel Kant was a German Philosopher who lived in the late 18th century and was arguably one of the greatest thinkers of all time. He came up with a guide to morals in direct opposition to the ontological theory. Many people use his ethics as a guide to living a moral life. The topic I shall be discussing is Kant's categorical imperative and the utilitarian's greatest happiness idea. There are significant problems with both ideas. It is apparent however, that alternatives to these two conflicting schools of thought have been offered. One popular criticism of utilitarianism is that it deals too much with the consequences of one's actions, and the same for Kant except…show more content…
When we act, whether or not we achieve what we intend with our action is often beyond our control and the morality of our actions cannot depend on their outcome. What we can control however is the will behind these actions. That is we can will to act according to one law rather than another. The morality of an action therefore, must be assessed in terms of the motivation behind it and not the consequences associated with it. According to Kant the only thing that is good without reason is the good will. A good will is good in itself, not just for what it produces. Courage, health, and wealth can all be used for the wrong purposes Kant argues, and therefore cannot be “intrinsically” good. Happiness is not intrinsically good because even being worth of happiness Kant says, requires that one possess a good will. The good will is the only unconditional good. Goodness cannot come from acting on impulse. It can only come from doing an action in a certain way. We might be tempted to think that some movements that make actions good and have a positive goal -to make people happy - are then moral. But this is not so Kant says if the act is not done with the right motive.
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