Immanuel Kant

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Transcript Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant [2]
Critique of Practical Reason
[Kritik der reinen Vernunft]
The Differences
Critique of pure reason
 It means the
theoretical use of
our reason
 It produces
objective claims of
scientific knowledge
Critique of practical
 It means the
practical use of our
 It produces
normative claims of
moral or ethics
The starting point
Kant stated that there is no absolute good,
except ‘the good will’.
This statement is not tautological, because he
understands the good will as ‘the good will as
such’ or ‘pure good will’ that doesn’t depend
on the other conditions or interests.
This absolute good will is not influenced by
any interest.
It is the deepest intention and disposition of
our conscience.
Morality and Legality
 An action that
conforms to
 It has no moral
 An action that is
accomplished for the
sake of the
 It has moral quality
Moral Rigor
According to Kant the moral quality of our
action depends on our self interest in
accomplishing the obligation.
The lest self interest we have, the more moral
quality we get.
This Kant’s moral view is called ‘moral rigor’ :
We do something morally not because of
certain value (e.g. solidarity or compassion),
but because of obligation that doesn’t depend
on our moods. Not the content of a moral
action is important, but it’s a priori form
The morality doesn’t depend on our moods
Two aspects of Obligation:
Law and Maxim
Something external
in the social world
as universal
normative structures
Something internal
in the subjective
world, i.e. in the
moral consciousness
Two kinds of maxim
Empirical Maxim
It is oriented to the
effects or results of the
action (teleological)
It has no moral quality
E.g. a false promise for
the sake of safety
A priori Maxim
It is oriented to the
universal moral law as
such and doesn’t attach
to sensual desires or
Only this kind of maxim
has moral quality
This maxim was
searched by Kant
Harmony between
Law/Principle and Maxim
The human being cannot fully accomplish the
law according to his maxim. There is always a
hiatus between the moral principle of our
practical reason and our subjective maxim
Only God can do something according to
maxim and principle. So, there is no
obligation for him, because every principle is
accomplished according to his maxim.
We are conscious of the maxim as imperative
Two Kind of Imperatives
 The conditional
statements like “If
you want to be
successful in your
study, you must
learn hard”
 It has no moral
Categorical Imperative
 The unconditional
statement or
imperative that
ought to be
because it is good in
it self.
 It has moral quality
The Content of the categorical
“Do so, as if the maxim of your action –
through your own will – can be
universalized as a universal law”
E.g. why don’t I steal the money?
Stealing cannot be universalized as
universal law. The universalizing of this
maxim can destroy the social order.
The Purpose of categorical
What is the purpose of the categorical
imperative ? According to Kant it must be
neutral from the interests. So, why must we
obey the categorical imperative?
Kant’s Answer: The purpose of this moral
imperative is (respect of) the human person.
So, Kant says that we must treat the human
person in ourselves or in the other person not
as a means for an end, but as an end in itself.
Postulates of practical reason
Kant argues that there are three
conditions of possibility of our moral
action. They are called ‘postulates of
practical reason’. (Postulate cannot be
questioned anymore. It is stated)
1. Freedom
2. Immortality of the soul
3. The Existence of God
We cannot proof freedom scientifically
as something empirical. But without
freedom our action has no moral
character. Something is morally good or
bad, because it is done ‘freely’ or
Immortality of Soul
Not all of our morally good action
results happiness. Virtue doesn’t imply
automatically or logically the pleasure
or happiness. So, it must be assumed
that the highest good doesn’t realized
itself in this world. In moral action we
assumed that our soul is immortal. In
the noumenal world the highest good
(summum bonum) is realized.
The Existence of God
If we act morally, we assume that there
is a absolute rational subject that can
fulfill our longing for the highest good
(summum bunum). This absolute moral
subject is God. So, we must assume the
existence of God in order to qualify our
action as moral action. Because only
God is the ultimate good.
Critique of Critique
Moral action orients its self not only by
formal transcendental moment of an
‘ought’, but also by a value that has a
certain content that is valuable for the
moral actor. So, according to Max
Scheller, we act according norms
because we appreciate the value in that
norm, e.g. solidarity, love, beauty, etc.