Kant's Views on Morality

949 Words Jun 19th, 2018 4 Pages
Morality has been a subject of many philosophical discussions that has prompted varied responses from different philosophers. One of the most famous approaches to morality is that of Immanuel Kant in his writing Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals. Kant in this work argues that the reason for doing a particular action or the drive to do good things is a fundamental basis of defining moral quality in a person. To him, an action could be considered morally right only if the motivation behind doing that action was out of ‘goodwill’. When he defines these moral rules, he characterizes them in the form of imperatives – the hypothetical imperative and categorical imperative. While hypothetical imperatives deal with motivations and actions that …show more content…
As a result, a utilitarian would promote the acts of sympathetic individuals helping others as opposed to the non-sympathetic individuals as the happiness of society as a whole is higher in the former action.
Although a strictly Kantian philosophy may not be the more popular philosophy at least when it comes to altruistic deeds, Kant is right to consider the person of cold temperament to be more morally worthy than the one who is happy to help others. This is because, morality is not something that should be motivated by what one gets out of it even if the reward for acting morally is only an emotional benefit. This however does not make the acts of sympathetic individuals immoral. It just makes their motivations less morally worthy than a person who does it without any inclination for helping others. There is a fundamental difference as Kant puts it in the actual moral actions and the drive for moral actions. The actual acts or ends in the case of both kinds of individuals helping is moral but their drive for committing those actions rank differently on a scale of moral worthiness. This is especially true since we differentiate ourselves from the other members of the animal kingdom due to our ability to think through our actions. It is a sense of rational objectivity that renders this capability in us. Hence, Kant is right to view morality as rational product of our actions. It should be largely based on what our reason allows us to do. Doing
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