Kant's Universalizability Theory

Topics: Immanuel Kant, Morality, Ethics Pages: 9 (3463 words) Published: May 20, 2011
A real knowledge, one ought to know, goes along with the morality of such knowledge. In so much, before one can be admitted or introduced into a particular area of study, one must be acquainted the morality or the value of such field of study. For this same reasons, morality is very crucial in the day-to-day activities of human existence and in all frontiers of knowledge. The branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality and value judgment which concerns itself with habits, customs, and ways of life especially in the concept of good and bad, right or wrong, noble or ignoble, justice and virtue is termed ethics. Hence, ethics as the branch of philosophy deals with the morality of human actions; or as the branch of philosophy which studies the norms of human behavior. [1] The goal of ethics is morality, the oughtness of an action, the essence of morality and the standard for judging an action to be right or wrong, good or bad. For the sake of this paper, I shall make a quick review on Immanuel Kant’s theory of universalizability that centers around the discourse on morality. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Immanuel Kant was German philosopher born in Konigsberg Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), whose philosophy flourished around 18th century. His main interests were in epistemology, metaphysics ethics, logic and aesthetics. Influenced by many and influenced more, he was exceptionally critical and a German idealist. Kant was the last influential philosopher of modern Europe in the classic sequence of the theory of knowledge during the enlightenment beginning with thinkers like John Locke, George Beckley and David Hume [2]. He published important works mostly on epistemology, as well as other related works. One of the most prominent of his works is the CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON (1781), which was a critical investigation into the limitations and structures of the human capability to reason. It also includes a critique against metaphysics and epistemology and the reconciliation of the two traditional schools of thought in epistemology (rationalism and empiricism). Other important works are: the CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON (1788) known as the second critique, which concerns mainly ethics and the CRITIQUE OF JUDGMENT (1790), which dealt with aesthetics and theology. His moral Philosophy

Kant developed his moral philosophy in three of his works namely: GROUNDWORK OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS, (1785). CRITQUE OF PRATICAL REASON, (1788) and METAPHYSIC OF MORALS (1787). His ethics is deontological, because moral good according to him is determined by acts and duty, [3] as a result; moral good is derived independently of natural good. The only thing that is good without qualifications is the Good Will and all other things that are generally considered as good are not unconditionally good, in the sense that, their goodness need to be qualified because they become bad when they are misused. He therefore concludes that there is only one thing that is truly good: “For nothing in the world --indeed nothing even beyond the world can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a Good Will[4]” Therefore, the Good Will cannot become bad for the reason that it is the only good without qualifications. A Good Will, Kant says “acts for the sake of duty” and not “acting according to duty”, and a good action is performed not because one feels like doing it but because the moral law demands it. In other words, the Good Will is good in itself; this moral law is therefore the principle of reason and a rational being with a Good Will automatically does its duty [5]. With further explanations, Kant postulated what he called ‘categorical imperatives’. An imperative is a command and he gave two types of imperatives namely; categorical imperative and hypothetical imperative. A hypothetical imperative is a command that is applicable especially when one wants to attain a particular outcome. A conditional...
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