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Critical Analysis of Kant’s Moral Philosophy Essay

The most essential motive of moral philosophy in Kant’s view is to “seek out” the introductory principle of metaphysics of morals. Kant explains this project through the first two chapters of the Groundwork. He advances by analyzing and explicating commonsense thoughts about morality. The purpose is to come up with a clear-cut statement of the opinion on which all of our regular moral judgements are based. The judgement in a question is supposed to be acceptable by any normal human being. In recent times, Kant is regarded as an overly optimistic with regards to the depth and reach of moral agreement.

But he is good in drawing moral views which is extensively shared and which contains general judgements that are profound. He does not appear as someone who populates the works of moral philosophers or someone who needs a reason to act morally or someone whose reactions have moral motive because of some rationale. For instance, in the third and final chapter of the Groundwork, Kant takes up his second elementary endeavour, to “establish” this foundational moral principle as a demand of each person’s own rational will, his conclusion falls short of answering those who want a proof that we really are bound by moral requirements.

He bases this second project on the point that we possess self-sufficiency. The argument of this project does not propagate a metaphysical fact about our wills. This has led some readers to a conclusion that he is trying to validate moral requirements by alluring to a fact that even a moral disbeliever would have to identify. The most justifiable points of his dispute to establish the basic belief of morality rest on an assertion that will not stir a true disbeliever, that the self-sufficiency of our wills is a supposition of any realistic point of view.

Moral requirements project themselves as being completely essential. But an a posteriori method seems unsuitable in establishing what we must do; it only tells us what we actually do. So an a posteriori method of seeking out the belief that generates such requirements will not carry the appearance of moral ‘oughts’ as necessities. Kant argued that experimental observations could only convey conclusions about the comparative benefits of moral actions in various situations. Such researched would not support the absolute necessity of moral requirements. It would view them as demands for which conformity is not necessary.

Thus, Kant argued that if moral philosophy is to protect against deterioration of the necessity of obligation in defence of moral thought, it must be carried out entirely a priori. Although these are the two fundamental aims of moral philosophy, they are not, the only aims. Moral philosophy addresses the question, ‘What ought I to do? ’ and an answer to that question requires much more than delivering the basic belief of morality. A satisfying answer to the question of what one should do would have to take into account any political and religious requirements.

Moral philosophy should emphasize on the ultimate end of human endeavour, the Highest Good, and its connection to the moral life. In the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant argued that this Highest Good for Humanity is complete moral virtue together with complete joy. Unfortunately, Kant noted, virtue does not assure well being and may even conflict with it. Further, there is no real possibility of moral excellence in this life and only few of us are lucky enough to experience the happiness. There are certain aims for which some methods need to be employed. These methods of moral philosophy are questioned time and again by Kant.

One a fundamental principle is sought, and then the facts drawn from experiences and the conclusions can be considered to determine how best these methods can be applied. The Groundwork appeals repeatedly for pragmatic facts based on practical principles. Kant analyses the commonsense ideas and he says that the only good things any qualification is a ‘good will’. ‘The good will’ is not an ordinary notion and Kant says that the idea of a good will is closer to that of a ‘good person’ or a ‘person of good will’. This idea of ‘good will’ is a vital touchstone that Kant keeps revisiting throughout his work.

The basic idea is that what makes a person good. It is his possession of a good will that determines the goodness, or the way he makes decisions on the basis of moral law, and how he holds that decision morally taking into considerations all the moral aspects. This sort of temperament is something that is highly valued. Kant believes that we value it without restraint or any qualification. By this Kant believes that there are two things that matter. First, that unlike anything else, there is no possible circumstance in which we regard our own moral goodness as worth giving up simply in order to obtain some desirable object.

There is no hidden limitation to the outcome that a purpose to give moral considerations decisive weight is worth honouring, but only under certain circumstances. Second, maintaining one’s moral integrity is the most important condition under which anything else is worth accessing. Intelligence and pleasure are worth having only if they do not require giving up one’s fundamental moral convictions. The value of a good will cannot secure certain valuable ends. Kant points out that a good will must be good in itself and not in virtue of its relationship to other things.

In Kant’s terms, a good will’s decisions are entirely determined by moral demands. Kant has called this as a Moral Law. Human beings view this law as a constraint on their desires. A will in which the Moral Law is crucial is motivated by the thought of duty. It is the existence of desires that makes goodness in human beings a constraint, independent of prevalence of morals. This is an indispensable element of the idea of ‘duty’. So in analyzing unqualified goodness we are investigating the idea of being motivated by the thought that we are constrained to act in certain ways that we might not want to.

Kant asserts this by contrasting motivation by duty with other motives, such as motives of self-interest, self-preservation, sympathy and happiness. He argues that a submissive action from any of these motives, does not express a good will. Assuming an action has moral worth only if it expresses a good will, such actions have no genuine ‘moral worth’. The conventionality of one’s action to duty in such cases is only related by accident to content of one’s will. Kant’s views in this regard have understandably been the subject of much controversy.

According to Kant, what is remarkable about inspiration by duty is that it consists of respect for lawfulness. What logically comes to mind is that duties are created by rules or laws. City and state laws establish the duties of citizens. Thus, if we do something because it is our ‘civic’ duty, our motivation is respect for the code that makes it our duty. Thinking we are duty bound is respecting certain laws pertaining to us. The difference between being motivated by a sense of duty in the ordinary sense, and being motivated by duty, in Kant’s sense is, that motivation by duty is motivation by our respect for whatever law it is.

Our respect for the laws guiding us is qualified, in the sense that the law gives us a duty is compelling only if there is no law we respect more that conflicts with it. The missing line of argument reveals a characteristic of Kant’s approach, his account of the content of moral requirements and the nature of moral analysis. It says that it is based on the unique force moral considerations that have reasons to act. Since they retain their reason-giving force under any situation, they have universal authority. So, whatever else may be said of moral requirements, their substance is universal.

Only a universal law could be the content of a requirement that has the reason-giving force of morality. This brings Kant to a introductory formulation, ‘I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law’. This is the principle which motivates a good will, and which Kant holds to be the fundamental principle of all of morality. Works Cited http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/kant-moral/ http://www. press. uchicago. edu/presssite/metadata. epl? mode=synopsis&bookkey=41315

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