Topics: Morality, Ethics, Immanuel Kant Pages: 7 (2759 words) Published: March 8, 2013
Morals Growing up I always was told to tell the truth, treat everyone how you would want to be treated and not to lie, cheat, or steal because these are morals I should live by. The definition of morals is a principle or habit with respect to right or wrong conduct. What is right and wrong, and who decides these rights and wrongs? I will go back and explore Kant and Locke to hopefully answer my questions.

• The values people use are often attributed to a system of beliefs called morals. This term is often referred to in many religious organizations. People are termed as "immoral," meaning they have no morals. Morals therefore have a very broad acceptance, and people are judged more against their morals than they are their values. Morals are beliefs and values that conform to normal standards of what is right and wrong and deal[pic] with people's habits of conduct.

The ethics of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is often contrasted with that of David Hume (1711–1776). Hume's method of moral philosophy is experimental and empirical; Kant emphasizes the necessity of grounding morality in a priori principles. Hume says that reason is properly a “slave to the passions,” while Kant bases morality in his conception of a reason that is practical in itself. Hume identifies such feelings as benevolence and generosity as proper moral motivations; Kant sees the motive of duty—a motive that Hume usually views as a second best or fall back motive—as uniquely expressing an agent's commitment to morality and thus as conveying a special moral worth to actions.

First, Kant places special importance on the a priori or“pure” part of moral philosophy. In Kant's normative ethics in the Metaphysics of Morals and lectures on ethics, Kant draws heavily on observations and ideas about human nature. But both in his normative works and in his foundational work, theGroundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant makes explicit that the supreme moral principle itself must be discovered a priori, through a method of pure moral philosophy (G 4:387–92). By“pure” or “a priori” moral philosophy, Kant has in mind a philosophy grounded exclusively on principles that are inherent in and revealed through the operations of reason. This sort of moral philosophy contrasts with empirical moral philosophy, which is grounded in a posteriori principles, principles inferred through observation or experience. While empirical moral philosophy, which Kant calls moral anthropology, can tell us how people do act, it cannot, Kant claims, tell us how we ought to act. And what we want to find, when we are seeking the supreme moral principle, is not a descriptive principle, but the most fundamental, authoritative normative principle. According to Kant, morality's commands are unconditional. We could never discover a principle that commands all rational beings with such absolute authority through a method of empirical moral philosophy; we must use the a priori method. Moreover, we must keep the pure and empirical parts of moral philosophy clearly distinguished, since if we do not we could find ourselves confusing conditional truths, such as what is prudentially good for certain individuals or species, with unconditional truths about fundamental moral requirements (G 4:389–90). Once one has in hand the supreme principle of morality, however, one requires an understanding of human beings in order to apply it to them (MM 6:217). One can say little about what the supreme moral principle requires as duties human agents have to themselves and to one another without knowing such things as the sorts of ends people may be inclined to adopt and the conditions under which human agency will characteristically thrive or wither. Second, Kant's notion of autonomy is one of the more central, distinctive, and influential aspects of his ethics. Kant defines autonomy principally as “the property of the will by which it is a...
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