The Moral Worth of Good Will

In his 3 chapter work, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant provides a claim that morality can be an outcome of the principle of categorical imperative that is the moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect expected from it.

The Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals by Immanuel Kant comprises of a preface and in total 3 chapters.  The preface clarifies that its aim is to present a decree of pure realistic reason for ethical viewpoint and is thus to create a final standard of ethics. The first chapter argues that the natural world of ethical duty and the significance of good will. The first chapter also explains the essential premise of the categorical imperative.

All of us must learn, according to Kant that since moral laws entail complete obligation, they cannot be just pragmatic. For instance, Thou shalt not lie (Kant, 1964) relates not just to people but to practical and rational human beings. Its roots, consequently, must be established in pure reason. Moreover, whatever we perform with honesty must be not only in agreement with rule but also for the benefit of that particular law if this were not its incentive, dissimilar situations of the driving force would call forward different replies.

Kants assertion Nothing in the worldindeed nothing even beyond the worldcan possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will (Kant, 1964) not cleverness, wittiness, opinion, bravery, or the gifts of destiny. Ownership of these is an optimistic wickedness if not shared with good will, which certainly is the crucial state even of merit to be content (Cummiskey, 1998). Although restraint, self-discipline, and tranquil reflection are all favorable to good will, they can also typify the cool villain and create that evil person even more repulsive. The decency of the good will does not suffice on its achievements it would sparkle like a jewel in its own right, as something that had its full worth in itself, (Kant, 1964) even if exterior conditions completely aggravated its actions.

To willpower for something does not mean the same as only thinking of it or hoping for it. The willpower depends on to choose or make a decision upon a course of action. Kant presumes that the ability to will is lucid. Thus, when we determine something, we always go after a maxim, a personal standard of achievement. And it is not possible to will a disagreement or anything that we know to be not possible. A good will is an ethically good will, that is, an ethically good choice to do something according to the maxim. Such an act of disposition is excellent, Kant thinks only if it is through for the reason of responsibility what one knows to be ones ethical responsibility.

The chapter then further elaborates that the specific compulsions of a good will are called duties. The concept of duty is premised upon three common intentions about duty.

First, actions are authentically good quality when they are taken on for the reason of performing the duty alone.

Second, actions cannot be judged according to their outcome, rather it is judged purely upon the basis of the motivation to perform that duty.

Third, however related to the first two propositions, says that duties should be performed out of value for the particular law.

Kant calls these reasons imperatives. The first reason for performing an action, the hypothetical imperative, is based on consequences and on our personal preferences. They are also contingent, meaning that they can be good or bad depending on how they are used. People choose to perform a given action because of the hypothetical imperative. The second reason for performing an action according to Kant is called the categorical imperative. These are not based on our preferences, dont deal with consequences of an action, and are derived a priori. They are completely separate from hypothetical imperatives. These categorical imperatives have three different formulations.

Unlike Utilitarianism or eudaimonic consequentiality, Kant says that it is wrong to look for the ethical worth of an act in its results. The grounds for this is that predictable outcomes of all actions, such as humanizing ones own situation, as in selfishness, or rising contentment of everybody expected to be caused by the act such as the case in utilitarianism, Kant mentions that there could have been other causes for such outcomes.

In such cases there would have been no need of the will of a rational being (Kant, 1964). Immanuel Kant tries to outline the basis of their premises by declining all moral theories that are linked to the results, and then throwing light on our moral inspirations and measures. Kant wants to gain good characters out of conditionally correct actions. He believes that all is dependent all can have positive and negative value, depending on how it is utilized. So he is trying to find the highest law of morality in his entire analysis. Kant also states that an act is right or wrong supporting exclusively on the motive by which it was carried out. On the other hand, a Utilitarian, like John Mill, would reject Kants reasoning of originating good characters out of actions alone, and instead argue that if an action has bad consequences, then the action was morally wrong (Allison, 1998).

Kant believes that an action has moral worth only if it is done out of respect for our moral code. He names this moral action a duty. Kant also believes that in determining the moral worth of an action, we need to look at the maxim by which it was performed. So, we need to look at ones reason for doing an action to determine if it is a duty. If the reason for performing the action is justified, then the action is a duty. However, Kant says there are two different types of reasons for performing an action.

I simply do not agree with this argument presented by Kant. The strengths of my individual analysis rely on the likelihood of attaining a return by carrying out a duty. I feel there is a significance of doing something with a smiling face. If you are discontented to carrying out a moral action it will divulge externally or make obvious that your heart is somewhere else, thus, fouling the act. On the other hand, carrying out a duty with the feeling of getting something in return will help others notice that you are doing it out of utter care and want this to be noticed. The weakness is clearly seen that you will be more credible to slot in and look to take on more duties that will provide immediate satisfaction. I feel the heaviest objection to this thesis is that Kant does not take sufficient thought of emotional attachment of human beings. I believe his thesis weighs a lot on simple reason alone without any stress on the emotional element of our ethics. Kants view that morality is a task ignores the fact that by performing duties individuals can get a somewhat restrained level of individual satisfaction from contribution in such acts that are not usually pleasant to carry out.


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