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What are the ultimate principles of morals for both Hume and Kant - Essay Example

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Immanuel Kant considers old philosophical problems using new methods. Kant defends morality from reduction to self-interest, empirical fact, or feelings. Rather, he bases his supreme moral principle on reason…
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What are the ultimate principles of morals for both Hume and Kant
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Download file to see previous pages He goes on to observe that only good will is good sans qualification. Good will is always good in itself and not just for the things that it produces. Will is good if will comes from duty, as well as other moral motives, which do not simply conform to duty. For instance, grocers who give the right change because of fairness, rather than from the fear of being caught, do so from good will. The reasoning goal is not in producing happiness but rather producing will that can be seen to be good in it. The satisfaction of man’s desires, which is happiness, is not determinate enough to use as a workable guide. Good will cannot act as the complete and sole good, although it is the worthy condition of being happy and the highest good. Complete good can only be goodwill combined with happiness. Rationality possesses its own laws of objectiveness. Because man is rational only partially, he experiences the various laws as constraints and imperatives that he is required to follow. These imperatives are grounded on the premise that is valid for all rational beings as such. These imperatives, according to Kant, could be hypothetical, i.e. if one wants to get to end E, then he should do A, or categorical, which is he ought to perform A. Ethics that are based on imperatives that are hypothetical are heteronymous because they involve following laws set by another. Categorical imperatives are hard to understand, although their content is clear. The basic imperative of category states that man acts on principle and these principles can be willed on everybody (Laursen 21). Ethics and morals are autonomous if they are based on categorical imperatives because man follows their own laws. Kant’s supreme moral principle is the universal law formula, which contends that man should act on a maxim that they follow to be used as a universal law (Laursen 23). Kant continues by applying his formula to two duties that are perfect and exception-less. These are not making promises with deceit and not committing suicide, as well as two imperfect duties, which to help those who have needs and development of one’s talents. These ideas can be expressed more loosely in two ways. Firstly, it is to treat all humanity, both you and others, not as a means only, but also as an end in itself (Laursen 23). Secondly, man should act as if one’s action maxim would be turned into nature’s universal law. Kant also connects freedom with morality. According to him, to be free means to follow one’s own principles of rationality rather than following our desires only. This means that one should follow their own legislation and act on maxims that they would follow, rather than the universal laws (Laursen 24). Therefore, freedom is morality. So morality and freedom, ultimately, are the same mystery. It is not possible to explain what free will is. It is only possible to assume what it is and reject all objections against it. Man knows that he/she is free through knowledge of his/her duties. Since probably an individual could have acted in a different way, then one is free. In order for man to recognize himself as free, he needs to see himself as being a member to two worlds. These worlds are a higher intelligible world and a sensible world. Acting in a moral way, therefore, has a supreme moral worth since through it, one participates in an existence of a higher order. This can be perceived as the foundation of human dignity as an end to itself (Laursen 24). Hume, on the other hand, contends that reason and moral sense combine to make our moral judgments. He says that moral sense is essential in making a distinction between virtue and vice, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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