In his renowned book Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant examines the notion of goodwill and how he might achieve it via responsibility. To give Kant's comprehensive idea of a moral act in this paper, Kant's work contains three propositions of obligation that I hope to define. I plan to explore Kant's categorical imperative and universalizability.
First, let me define benevolence in Kant's terms. According to him, only goodwill is totally good, and it is required to do a moral deed. Charity is unlimited, according to Kant. He indicates that we should never give up our moral convictions to acquire a good goal. In fact, in some instances, traits like power or courage might be lessened or sacrificed. For example, we don't want to abuse our authority over the vulnerable or our bravery to do an injustice.
Kant connects goodwill with conditioned enjoyment. He thinks our deeds are excellent only if they are good-willed. All our activities will be harmful and destructive if we lack kindness. Goodwill also aids moral fulfilment. According to Kant, benevolence "will shine like a diamond for its own sake" (Kant 62). That is, friendship is good in it and does not require explanation. Even if our acts do not achieve the expected results, they remain ethically correct if they are done with goodwill.
After defining benevolence, Kant emphasizes the value and role of reasoning with our will. Kant argues it's pointless to impart reason in an act that's essentially about me. Connecting logic to our thoughts is negated if we behave instinctively. Meaning we are not properly utilizing the role of reason if we apply it to acts that the individual prefers. Moreover, we tend to favour one viewpoint over another, and our behaviours are irrational. According to Kant, the more one utilizes reason to achieve satisfaction and joy, the farther one is from genuine pleasure. It is possible to build goodwill when one uses reason to lead oneself rather than wants. If all of our observations are controlled by reason, we know we are accomplishing our goal. This means that making judgments only based on logic is a goodwill action. The reasoning is essential to reach our goal unconditionally and prevents us from making biased decisions. Kant claims that reason restricts happiness, which is always conditional and reduces general fulfilment.
In his article, Kant advances three statements about responsibility and the qualities of a morally right deed. He contrasts the principle of duty with other reasons, such as self-interest, self-preservation, compassion, and happiness. I will review Kant's ideas and finish with his view of proper conduct.
As for duty, he says it is an unqualified source of worth. According to Kant, an action is ethically acceptable if committed only out of obligation. This indicates that all of our acts should be motivated solely by responsibility and not by self-interest or satisfaction. Kant explains this using a shopkeeper's example. For example, a merchant who charges a reasonable price for his goods may be acting in his self-interest. In reality, the shopkeeper's genuine objective is to protect his competitors from taking over his firm. In this scenario, the shopkeeper's fixed-price policy is motivated by selfish motives. A person's character is considered morally valuable if they do well only out of responsibility. For example, a man who has a wretched existence and has lost all desire to live refrains from suicide out of obligation to save his own life and not any other motive. According to Kant, we all have a strong tendency toward happiness, as happiness is the foundation of our different inclinations. Those who can resist this urge and act only out of obligation are on the right track to committing a moral deed. However, Kant does offer a case for ethically decent striving for bliss. Promoting one's happiness becomes a moral act when a person's universal desire for pleasure and passion for good health diminishes. Consider the instance of a man with terminal cancer. This person has lost all want to be joyful, yet he vows to enjoy the final moments of his life to preserve his life.
Kant's second claim is about obligation. He claims that we don't have to achieve anything as long as we execute our duties correctly. The outcome of our acts is less important than our decision to take them. We may not have achieved our goals, but our activities are morally valid as long as they are entirely motivated by duty. The ultimate consequence of our acts should not impact our observations since this adds an inclination to them, which prevents them from having any moral content.
Concerning moral law, Kant emphasizes in his third statement. He says his main motive is simple respect for the law. Rules or regulations generate duties. For example, an organization's bylaws define member obligations. The engineering code of ethics outlines an engineer's responsibility to public safety and welfare. We must follow and respect these codes. A responsible activity should be free of desire, and only appreciation of the law may judge its moral worth. Kant may also indicate a hierarchical approach to obeying the law. A law only assigns us a responsibility if no other law we regard or respect contradicts it. My organizations' and the city's rules advise me not to violate federal law (Johnson). So on.
Let me end with the categorical imperative and Kant's Universal rule of nature formula. Kant argues that the categorical imperative underpins our moral obligations and is a universal rule of nature. It is unconditional because it applies to us absolutely, regardless of our predisposition. It's vital because it informs us what's right and wrong. This principle states that we must act so that our acts become universal laws. Kant defines a maxim as a subjective principle or guideline that an individual's will utilizes to make decisions. What is right in one scenario is right in all relevant situations. Kant believes we may measure our deeds by whether we could conduct them if everyone else did. For example, if I ask a buddy to lend me one of his Xbox games but never return it; my friend may trust me and lend me the game. To assess my activity, I must imagine what would happen if everyone in the world stole video games from friends with the goal of not returning them. If this happened, people would lose faith in their friends and stop sharing games, and I would be unable to borrow games. So, according to Kant's 'Universal Law of Nature,' my behaviour is wrong. Kant also contends that while certain activities may be able to exist under a universal rule, their 'maxims' may not be. Because this conduct became a Universal law, it would contradict itself. To put it another way, if we become a global law, we may never be able to get support from anybody.
The moral worth of our deeds is not determined by the outcome but by our actions themselves. Our activities should be driven only by duty, not self-interest, self-preservation, sympathy, or happiness. The concept of law helps us choose our will and perform our obligations. Our activities gain moral value when universal rules control them. Duty is regard for applicable law that allows us to judge what is ethically good or wrong.