Organized Being in Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

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Kant's argument that good will is the supreme purpose of man's existence based on observations of the influence that reason exerts on the will is inconsistent with what may be observed in nature. It presupposes an intentional cosmos wherein an organized being's purpose, and thus its standard of value, can be extracted from an examination of its constitution and faculties. While this presupposition is logically consistent with the rest of Kant's moral theory it does not coincide with what we can actually observe in nature. The following essay will examine, one, the idea of an organized being, secondly, why Kant proposes it, then we will contrast this idea with what we observe, and finally, analyse the extent of the harm done to the …show more content…
Kant proposes that the distinction of purposes between reason and instinct is apparent because if man's sole purpose was his own well-being then the only factor that nature would allow to leverage his will would be instinct, the desires and inclinations thereof being entirely sufficient for that end. However, that man must have some other purpose beyond his own happiness is evident from the influence that reason exerts on the will. If man's object were his happiness alone then "should reason have been communicated to this favoured creature must only have served it to contemplate the happy constitution of its nature...but not that it should subject its desires to that weak and delusive guidance and meddle bunglingly with the purpose of nature." (6) Reason, in Kant's view, could not have been intended by nature as an auxiliary for enhancing man's pursuit of happiness. He points out his observation that those who attempt to employ reason in pursuit of this end often achieve results contrary to it. So long as we do not doubt the capacity of reason to compel man to set aside his inclinations we must also accept that nature has intended him for a secondary purpose as well. Otherwise, "Nature would not only have taken on herself the choice of the ends, but