Immanuel Kant Essay
Essay Topic: Literature
Paper type: Essay
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Answer: One of the most common reasons why people say they believe in God is that the universe seems to have been intentionally designed. Hume observes that while we may perceive two events that seem to occur in conjunction, there is no way for us to know the nature of their connection. Hume argues that an orderly universe does not necessarily prove the existence of God. Those who hold the opposing view claim that God is the creator of the universe and the source of the order and purpose we observe in it, which resemble the order and purpose we ourselves create.
Therefore, God, as creator of the universe, must possess intelligence similar, though superior, to ours. Hume explains that for this argument to hold up, it must be true that order and purpose appear only as a direct result of design. He points out that we can observe order in many mindless processes, such as generation and vegetation. Hume further argues that even if we accept that the universe has a design, we cannot know anything about the designer.
God could be morally ambiguous, unintelligent, or even mortal.
The design argument does not prove the existence of God in the way we conceive him: all-knowing, all-powerful, and entirely beneficent. The existence of evil, Hume holds, proves that if God exists, God cannot fit these criteria. The presence of evil suggests God is either all-powerful but not completely good or he is well-meaning but unable to destroy evil, and so not all-powerful. He had three main arguments against the design argument. Firstly he argued that order is not proof of design. We see order in many situations but only in a minority do we know it is caused by an agent.
Secondly we consider one thing the cause of another when we have observed that the effect follows the cause with regularity. If we could observe lots of universes, and notice that the ones governed by order are designed by God, then we could infer that this one, being ordered, is probably also designed by God; but we can’t. This universe is the only one we know about, so we cannot appeal to any regularity. His third argument is that when we deduce a cause from an effect, all we know about the cause is what the effect indicates.
If the universe has indeed been created by God, this shows that God possesses the amount of power, intelligence and benevolence revealed in the universe but no more. He criticized theologians for assuming that they knew more about God than the design argument could establish; perhaps the universe was made by a committee of designers, or was a poor experiment in universe-making by an inferior god, or was created by a god who has lost interest in it and allows it to continue regardless of its condition until it breaks up with age. Philosophy 101.
Question #2: According to Paley, how should we determine what is morally right? Answer: William Paley’s Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, first published in 1785, played a seminal role in the dissemination of utilitarianism in England. Paley believes that right actions are right just because God approves of them and wrong actions are wrong just because God disapproves of them Then, God is a legislator of morality; he decides what’s right or wrong in the same way in which the state decides what’s legal and what’s illegal.
One might argue that the presence of a God who will punish and reward us in the afterlife on the basis of our deeds is a necessary component of moral motivation. Ethics is the science that teaches men their duty and the reasons for it. The moral rightfulness of an action consists in its being in accordance with the will of God. It is my duty to follow the will of God. However, to explain the nature of duty, one must consider that of obligation: a man is obliged when he is urged by a violent motive resulting from the command of another.
The method pursued in the speculative part is, after a definition of Moral Philosophy, first, to show the necessity of some scientific system, in order to ascertain an adequate and perfect rule of life, and then, from the phenomena of our moral nature, to deduce and construct such a system. The end which Dr. Paley has steadily in view is the discovery of a perfect rule of life; and the only claim which, in his judgment, can commend moral philosophy to our attention, is the claim to teach us our duty, our whole duty, and the reasons of it. If it cannot discharge this office, it is, in his eyes, nothing worth.
Paley said “Whatever is expedient is right. It is the utility of any moral rule alone which constitutes the obligation of it. ” Philosophy 101 Question #3: Write a brief explanation of Kant’s ethics, defining and using these terms:”a priori,” “categorical imperative,””hypothetical imperative,””goodness of will,” “freedom of will. ” Answer: Kant’s ethics provides a philosophical foundation for what is already commonly understood by ‘morality’ and ‘moral action. The right motive is “to do the right thing”, “to do one’s duty”, “to respect the moral law.
” A rational being who consistently has the right motive has what Kant calls a Good Will. Nothing is more important for morality than having a good will. According to Kant, a rational being with a Good Will automatically does its duty. First consider what would motivate you if you had a Good Will. You’d do your duty simply because it’s your duty. You wouldn’t expect a reward. You wouldn’t expect to make yourself happy or give yourself pleasure. You’d want to do your duty simply because it’s your duty. In other words, all consequences, any pleasure or happiness that might result or any pain and misery that might be avoided are irrelevant.
Kant explains the nature of moral commands using his distinction between categorical imperatives and hypothetical imperatives. An imperative is a command. A hypothetical imperative is a command that applies if you want to attain a particular outcome. Hypothetical Imperatives have the general form: If you want ‘A,’ then you ought to do ‘B. ‘ For example, if you want to be an Olympic swimmer, you ought to go swimming every day. The ‘ought’ in these hypothetical imperatives is conditioned by our desires & wants. Must you obey this imperative? Only if you have the relevant desire to be an Olympic swimmer.
If you don’t care, you can ignore the imperative. Kant says moral imperatives are never conditional. They are never hypothetical. For Kant, moral imperatives are always categorical, absolutely binding regardless of personal interest or desire. What you care about simply doesn’t matter. Your duty is your duty, and you must do it whether or not you want to. Nothing exempts a moral agent from the demands of moral duty. Kant believes a basic theme of fundamental philosophical issues must be addressed a priori, that is, without drawing on observations of human beings and their behavior.
Once we “seek out and establish” the fundamental principle of morality a priori, then we may consult facts drawn from experience in order to determine how best to apply this principle to human beings and generate particular conclusions about how we ought to act. Lastly at the heart of Kant’s moral theory is the position that rational human wills are autonomous. Kant saw this as the key to understanding and justifying the authority moral requirements have over us. The idea of freedom as autonomy thus goes beyond the merely ‘negative’ sense of being free from influences on our conduct originating outside of ourselves.
It contains first and foremost the idea of laws made and laid down by oneself, and, in virtue of this, laws that have decisive authority over oneself. Philosophy 101 Question: Mill clarifies and defends his moral philosophy by replying to objections to it. Explain any three of these objections and Mill’s replies to them. Answer: The notion of an ethics based on utility usefulness for human concerns, especially human happiness was one of the revolutionary Continental ideas of the Enlightenment period. In Utilitarianism, Mill generated an encompassing code of ethics by the same name (utilitarianism).
In doing so, he articulated several key principles to the role one’s morality should play and the manner in which it must do so. The first is that actions will be right as much as they promote the general happiness, and conversely, as wrong as they promote unhappiness. Mill disagrees with Kant’s idea of good will and replied that actions are evaluated morally based upon their consequences, not the actual act itself. Utilitarians wished to consider the consequences as well as the “will” of an action and to consider the particular circumstances of an action in an attempt to determine what is morally right.
Moreover, since happiness is the quantifiable justification for moral actions, Mill elucidates the struggle to measure moral good by declaring that each person’s happiness is equal to another’s. However, Mill concedes that Utilitarians who have “cultivated their moral feelings but not their sympathies” will be prey for the trap of mistaking character and the morality of actions for irrelevant. Apparently, they have some small significance worth noting. Indeed, he goes on to also cedes that the ethics can be very rigid, as one makes it, or very lax, as one deems.
Considering Mill’s own concessions, one sees objections clearly: do not intentions have a role in morality? How can you apply morality to an agent that does not understand morality? At what cost do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one? Utilitarianism seems to put happiness into a business ledger. Sacrifices are okay if a greater profit can be gained. Mill said that “it is not only the quantity of pleasure that counts, but the quality. Thus a dissatisfied human may live a better life than a satisfied pig, because the human has access to a higher quality of pleasures than the pig does. ” Hao Chen (Eric).
Philosophy 101 Question #7 Explain Nietzsche’s distinction between “master morality” and “salve morality. ” Answer: Friedrich Nietzsche called himself an immoralist, and he attacked modern morality, as summarized by Kant and Christianity, and urged us to return to ancient Greek morality as summarized by Aristotle. Nietzsche, like Aristotle, saw the concept of moral duty as fit for servants and slaves, but such a morality was wholly inadequate to motivate us to personal excellence and achievement. Nietzsche defined master morality as the morality of the strong-willed. What is good is what is helpful; what is bad is what is harmful.
Morality as such is sentiment. In the prehistoric state, “the value or non-value of an action was derived from its consequences” In this sense, the master morality is the full recognition that oneself is the measure of all things. Insomuch as something is helpful to the strong-willed man it is like what he values in himself; therefore, the strong-willed man values such things as ‘good’. Masters are creators of morality; slaves respond to master-morality with their slave-morality. Unlike master morality which is sentiment, slave morality is literally re-sentiment–revaluing that which the master values.
This strays from the valuation of actions based on consequences to the valuation of actions based on “intention”. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power by corrupting the strong into believing that the causes of slavery are ‘evil’, as are the qualities they originally could not choose because of their weakness. Nietzsche did not believe that every human “nature” was the same, and he taught that different individuals would find and follow different values and thus different moralities. His central teaching is “follow yourself, don’t follow me. “