Hume Versus Kant

Topics: Morality, Immanuel Kant, Ethics Pages: 4 (1500 words) Published: May 22, 2006
Hume and Kant offered two differing views on morality. Hume's philosophy regarding moral theory came from the belief that reason alone can never cause action. Desire or thoughts cause action. Because reason alone can never cause action, morality is rooted in us and our perception of the world and what we want to gain from it. Virtue arises from acting on a desire to help others. Hume's moral theory is therefore a virtue-centered morality rather than the natural-law morality, which saw morality as coming from God. Kant's notion of morality stems from his notion of one universal moral law. This law is pertinent to all people and can be used at all times before carrying our actions According to Kant, you ought to act according to the maxim that is qualified for universal law giving; that is, you ought to act so that the maxim of your action may become a universal law. While Hume and Kant's moral theory differ dramatically, they share one quality and that is the fact that neither centers around the concept of God and his will. Hume's theories may be considered by some not really philosophical theories at all. It is to say that he is not searching for that philosophical life that is seen in a Plato, or Augustine. He believes that capitalism promotes prosperity for people, and that only science and math is the realm for reason. To discuss Hume's ethical theory you have to look at the central theme, which are feelings. Hume's ethical theory says that moral judgments are made on feelings as oppose to reason. Hume's feelings are based upon the belief that people make moral judgments because it is useful to society. He uses the examples of benevolence and justice to support this idea. Benevolence leads to happiness in society, which is the main basis for moral approval. Justice, for Hume, is regarded as good because again it is useful to society. He says that justice would not exist if everybody was not selfish, and one of its main uses is to protect private property....
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