Emanuel Kant

Topics: Morality, Core issues in ethics, Law Pages: 1 (413 words) Published: September 9, 2014
Emanuel Kant
Kant says in the first portion of the story is that the one thing in the world that is not clearly good is the "good will." Qualities of character (wit, intelligence, courage, etc.) or qualities of good fortune (wealth, status, good health) can be used to either good or bad purposes. By contrast, a good will is good by its nature, even if its efforts fail to bring about positive results. THE GOOD WILL AND DUTY

The specific obligations of a good will are called "duties." There are these three general propositions about duty. First, actions are genuinely good when they are undertaken for the sake of only duty. People may act in unison with duty out of some interest or compulsion other than duty. An example would be a Car salesman has a duty to offer a fair price to all customers, yet car salesmen abide by this duty not solely out of a sense of duty, but rather because the competition of other salesmen compels them to offer the lowest possible price. All people have a duty to help others in distress, yet many people may help others not out of a sense of duty, but rather because it gives them pleasure to spread happiness to other people. A better example would be someone who hates to help others but knows it’s their duty and does it anyway. The second proposition is that actions are judged not according to the purpose they were meant to bring about, but rather by the "maxim" or principle that served as their motivation. This principle is similar to the first. When someone takes on an action with no other motivation than a sense of duty, they are doing it because they have recognized a moral principle that is valid a priori(Reasoning based on reason and identities of ideas as innate or as valid independent of experience.).

The third proposition is that duties should be undertaken out of "reverence" for "the law." Any organism can act out of instinct. Chance events could bring about positive results. But only a rational being can recognize a...
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