Philosophy Notes on Kant

Topics: Categorical imperative, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 5 (1962 words) Published: December 8, 2012
Kant was part of enlightenment period
Morality is entirely determined by what someone wills because a good will is the only thing that is good with out provocations. Every other character trait is only morally good once we qualify it as such. Kant morality is all about what someone wills and not about the end result or consequence is. Someone can be happy but for immoral reasons. Kant it is really the thought that counts. Motivation is everything. What does Bentham and Mills look at consequences and happiness. Kant thinks of these things as matter of riddle in the game of morality. Think of it this way. If we think of someone as our favorite moral hero in past and present because of the various things they did, accomplish, brought about. All you are doing when you admire such people is judging results. What we see. But if we are really judging moral worth on what we see we are then failing to adjudicate moral worth entirely. After all we have no idea what the shop clerks real motives are. Perhaps she is honest because she thinks this is the best way to make money. If this wasn’t her true motivation she may start ripping people off as soon as she could. Think back to what glaucon says. He says it is better to appear to be moral than to really be moral. Kant believes this is a much more comman way of going aobut things that it probably happens most of the time given that many people don’t have moral motivations that we really have no way of knowing what peopole’ motivations are. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln and MLK motivations were not stemmed form good will at all but only for honor, fame or fortune. We simply don’t know. Remember there are many people who were unlucky failed to bring any results even thought they hated good will or moral principles. They are forever unknown they are forever anonymous. He says we should stick to what pure reason tells and tells us it doesn’t care about consequences, doesn’t care about actions, doesn’t care about results. It cares about motivation. We can never tell anyone’s motivation just from look at them. Kant argues that if we look around the natural world that by in large things seem to fill their end for what they are designed for. Cheetahs usually have four legs and are good at catching prey. By and large, natural entities fulfill their designed purpose. Eyeballs are designed to see and usually do. Sure they eventually pucker out but for most part our eyes work how they were designed to function. But if we look at this larger thing called the human person and then assumed he was designed for happiness in the same way a cheetah was designed to run and catch prey and the eyes were designed to see we can conclude that the design of the human person were wrong. We can’t be designed for the purpose of being happy because if we were we would be a strange anomaly of nature. But why do we say this because we are species. We are a species that is defined by pain and suffering and anxiety and depression that results in misery. We are sad, miserable and pathetic. Unfortunately, argues Kant, we aren’t designed to be happy. The purpose of life isn’t to be happy! It is to be moral. Instead we are designed to be moral. Happiness may forever be out of reach but that’s ok because that is not the purpose of being human. The purpose of being human is to be moral and happiness may not have anything to do with each other. Kant’s theory is seen as deontological because it is all about duty. Kant argues that to be moral we have to consider duty compared to what we might want to do based on our emotions and inclinations. The name of the game is DUTY. We must be motivated by duty in order to be moral. Ex: if we only help out in a soup kitchen only because it makes us feel good then we aren’t properly moral. If happiness is your only motivation because once you stop feeling good about it you will quit working in the soup kitchen. You will burn out fast. Emotions can’t motivate. They can accompany but can’t...
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