Immanuel Kant Metaphysics of Morals

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Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the "Categorical Imperative" (CI). Immorality thus involves a violation of the CI and is thereby irrational. This argument was based on his striking doctrine that a rational will must be regarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it.

The fundamental principle of morality — the CI — is none other than this law of an autonomous will. Thus, at the heart of Kant's moral philosophy is a conception of reason whose reach in practical affairs goes well beyond that of a Humean ‘slave' to the passions. Moreover, it is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant thought offered decisive grounds for viewing each as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect.

In Kant's terms, a good will is a will whose decisions are wholly determined by moral demands or as he refers to this, by the Moral Law

Kant's analysis of commonsense ideas begins with the thought that the only thing good without qualification is a ‘good will'.

While the phrases ‘he's good hearted', ‘she's good natured' and ‘she means well' are common, ‘the good will' as Kant thinks of it is not the same as any of these ordinary notions. The idea of a good will is closer to the idea of a ‘good person', or, more archaically, a ‘person of good will'

The basic idea is that what makes a good person good is his possession of a will that is in a certain way ‘determined' by, or makes its decisions on the basis of, the moral law

The idea of a good will 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.

First, unlike anything else, there is no conceivable circumstance in which...
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