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The Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals Essay

Immanuel Kant’s “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals”, argues upon the basis of morality introducing the ideals of the categorical imperative as the central concept of moral philosophy. The definition of the categorical imperative leads Kant towards the critique of pure reason arguing that without a goodwill one can’t even be worthy of being happy. Kant introduces goodwill, treating people as means rather than ends and doing the right thing for the right reason.

Making a distinction between science and knowledge and eliminating common sense on a route to the philosophical, Kant defines reason as reason a practical faculty to influence will and also being essential to will. Kant argument in the Groundwork focuses upon the basic idea of what makes a good person good. It is the possession of a will that is a way determined by, or makes decision based of moral law. This goodwill is supposed to be the idea of one who only makes decisions that she holds to be morally worthy, taking moral considerations in themselves to be conclusive reasons for guiding her behavior.

This sort of disposition or character is something we all highly value. Kant believes we value it without limitation or qualification. Formulated by pure reason, the categorical imperative according to Kant underscores his argument. The value of a good will thus cannot be that it secures certain valuable ends, whether of our own or of others, since there value is entirely conditional on our having and maintaining a good will. Kant’s categorical imperative argues that ones actions should be done from duty in order to obtain true moral worth. It is not the result of ones actions but rather means of that duty that leads humanity to happiness.

The goodwill “of this person would sparkle like a jewel all by itself, as something that had its full worth in itself” (Kant, 1). Humanity is very much determined by strive for excellence in order to obtain the ultimate good. Kant’s hypothetical imperative stresses how indications and determination for the result are the goal for people to act. Juxtaposing with the ideals of the categorical imperative the latter is motivated by the result rather than acting from duty. Acting in such a way that ones actions can become a universal law is what I consider the road to happiness.

It is not primarily doing good to oneself in order obtain a desired result. Doing good to others and treating these as means rather than ends is what I define as true happiness. Goodwill will “needn’t be the sole and complete good, but it must be the condition of all others, even of the desire for happiness” (Kant, 1). So we have to develop the concept of goodwill that is determined and esteemed as good in it without regard to anything else, judging the total worth of the actions we commit and with the entirety depending on it searching for the unconditional good.


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