Wednesday, October 16, 2019

On Kant’s Moral Theory

Kant believed that moral theories, such as Aristotle’s eudaimonia, Hume’s notion of utility, and the Stoic principle of apathy, are not sufficiently general, universal, and fundamental. He was questing for a universal, a priori law of moral action that is determined by reason, and he realized that such a moral law can be a priori, only if it’s a law of action free of the desire of achieving any aim or good. In his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, he writes, “There is no possibility of thinking of anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be regarded as good without qualification, except a good will.” Kant realized that there is no state, goal, or object that can be regarded as intrinsically or universally good; everything, including happiness, love, intelligence, or health, is compatible with moral wrong, Moreover, there is a divide between moral theories that are based in the right and those that are based in some ultimate good or value that our actions ought to maximize. The aim of achieving good outcomes like love, happiness, health, or something else cannot dictate our moral ideas. What is morally right is to be understood only in terms of a rule. We have to do what is right, not because it’s expected to lead to a good end, but because it’s right. Moral actions are not only according to duty, but also because of and from duty. In judging morality of actions or social policies, consequences are irrelevant.

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