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  • 1. Surname Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Introduction According to Immanuel Kant, the humans are the most privileged of all creation mainly because human beings are the only creation with the ability to reason. Morality, according to Kant is aggregated into a single vital commandment, the reason or imperative commandment from which each and every obligation and duty derive. Kant described an imperative to be any suggestion, which proclaims an inaction or action to be essential. An imperative that is hypothetical forces action under certain circumstances: should someone desire to quench his or her thirst, that person has to drink something. On the other hand, an imperative that is categorical symbolizes an unconditional or an absolute requirement, which affirms its authority in each and every situation whether justified or required as a conclusion in itself. Therefore, an act that is morally right is one that is right for any individual in a similar situation to the ones of other individuals who would also execute the same act unconditionally in accordance with the universal principles that respect individuals intrinsically instead of each pursuing their own ends (Kemerling, Para 2). The life of Immanuel Kant Kant was born on 22nd April 1724, and died on 12th February 1804; he was a great German philosopher of the 18th century. Kant is in fact the modern Europe’s last 1
  • 2. Surname philosopher with great influence in the typical series of knowledge theory during the period of enlightenment starting with thinkers such as David Hume, George Berkeley and John Locke. Kant through his work generated an extensive view in the world of philosophy, which over the years it has continued to have a lot of influence on philosophy even in the current 21st century. Kant published works of great importance on epistemology, and works related to history, law and religion. The pure reason critique is one of the greatest works done by Kant. The critique is an examination into the structure and limitations of reason. He argues the reasoning of human beings makes them to desire acting ethically (Ross, Para 3). In his younger years, Immanuel portrayed a lot of interest in studying. At first he was taken to study in Collegium Fredericianum before being enrolled at Konigsberg University, the place where he spent the whole of his career. Kant studied Wolf and Leibniz philosophy under Knutzen who was a rationalist quite knowledgeable with the developments in both science and British philosophy; he is the person who introduced Immanuel to Newton’s mathematical physics concepts (Ross, Para 4). The early work of Kant came when he was already fifty years old, even though it is correct that Kant did much of his work later in life, there is some propensity of underestimating his earlier work’s value. His later works mainly emphasized on various fields in philosophy. In these later works, he greatly revised the works that he had done earlier in life and thus refined them and gave these works more meaning. Among his greatest works is the moral philosophy in which he argues that human beings have a great desire of doing things that are right and they are thus moral and ethical (Ross, Para 5). Kant’s philosophy of morality 2
  • 3. Surname Starting with the concept of what is perceived to be right without the need of good will, the morality of humans is purely governed by the will of acting right. Human beings enjoy various good features and good life benefits, Immanuel noted that these features have a lot of value under suitable conditions, because it is possible for them to be used for either evil or good. He however pointed out that the will of doing the right thing is intrinsically good. The value it posses is utterly independent and entirely contained of any external relations it might have, due to the fact that practical reason is more suitable to the guidance and development of the will to do right as opposed to the happiness achievement. It therefore means that good will’s value of human beings does not rely on the results that are produced as the outcomes of the actions of humans (Guthrie, Para 7). The moral theory of Kant proposes that acts that are right morally in virtue of the intentions they have, which have to derive more will to do right from their responsibilities than from tendency. According to this theory, the examples that are most clear in terms of actions that are morally right are basically those in which a person’s determination agent to act according with responsibility overcomes his obvious desire and self interest of doing otherwise. However, is such instances, Immanuel argues that the action’s moral value is only capable of residing in the maxim principle, which is the informal principle of general obligation of acting in such a way since it is the duty of the individual. Kant in his theory of moral concludes that an individual’s obligation is the need of acting out of respect of the law (McPhee, Para 8). The will to act in the right manner is morality’s ultimate principle and is governed by the moral law that is perceived so conceptually that it has the ability of guiding human beings in acting the right way through the utilization of all possible circumstances. 3
  • 4. Surname Therefore, the only feature that is related to the law of morality is its generalization. This implies that it posses the formal universalizability property, due to the fact that it can be used in all instances by every agent of morality. In accordance to this series of reasoning in regard to the common moral concepts possessed by humans, Immanuel came up with an initial statement that is, the moral obligation statement, which creates the notion that the actions that are right are the ones in which practical reason could credit as law that is universal (Kemerling, Para 10). The hypothetical imperative by Kant conditionally requires an action’s performance for other purpose or end sake; its form is like in order to achieve say X one has to do A. Applying imperatives that are hypothetical to decisions that are ethical is troublesome mildly. In such instances, it is quite clear that individuals are obliged morally to perform act A if they are sure that X is not only the legitimate objective will also have the effect of producing the results that are desired. Therefore, human beings’ morality is governed by the will of doing the right things. For a human being that is perfectly rational all the above would most likely be analytic, however, due to the general restrictions of humans in terms of knowledge, it would be almost impossible to satisfy the joint conditions (Guthrie, Para 11). Kant argues that reason is a basic necessity for human beings to be moral in their actions. It separates from each and every empirical experience, is capable of determining the principle in accordance with all the ends that can be determined to be moral. The reason fundamental principle is commonly referred to as categorical imperative. Reason guides individuals in acting morally, guided by the desire to do right. This is because practical reason that is pure in its determination, establishes what should be done without 4
  • 5. Surname referring to the contingent empirical factors. In this sense, the position of Kant of Meta ethical is one that is objective as opposed to being subjective. The determination of moral questions does not rely on referring to exact matter from which they are posed. The reason for this is due to the fact that it is absolute practical reason that and not particular sensuous or empirical factors that determine morality, eventually they make morality to be valid universally and also as the guiding factor in acting in the right manner. The universalism of moral is considered as an aspect that is very distinctive in the moral philosophy of Kant. It has a broad impact in the political and legal aspects of human equality and rights. The main reason for the universal application of the moral philosophy of Kant is because it dictates that morality is basically guided by an individual’s desire to do right, due to the great satisfaction that is derived from acts that are ethical (McPhee, Para 12). Conclusion According to the above discussion it is true that morality of the human beings is largely guided by the will to do the right things. Humans have the tendency of acting correctly and thus are ethical in their actions. There is a strong internal desire in individuals that drives them to do right, because it is as a result of acting in the right manner that human beings are ethical and thus derive a lot of satisfaction from their actions. 5
  • 6. Surname Work cited: Guthrie, Shandon L.; Immanuel Kant and the Categorical Imperative, 2001, retrieved on 25th November 2009 from, http://sguthrie.net/kant.htm Kemerling, Garth; Kant: the Moral Order, 2002, retrieved on 25th November 2009 from, http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5i.htm. McPhee, Isaac M.; Kant's Categorical Imperative: The Key to Telling Right from Wrong, 2008, Retrieved on 25th November 2009 from, http://philosophy.suite101.com/article.cfm/kants_categorical_imperative. Ross, Kelley L.; Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), 2008, Retrieved on 25th November 2009 from, http://www.friesian.com/kant.htm. 6