Sample Essay on Kant’s Philosophy


Kant’s work on moral philosophy has been explained in three works, namely critique of practical reason (1788), metaphysics of morals (1785) and metaphysics of morals (1797). According to Kant, if something is right for him to do, then it must also be right for everyone else. Kant says that anyone has the right to respect other people’s will, and they have rights not to be subjected to other persons’ interests either by coercion or deception. Kant notes that talents, external factors, bodily goods, and temperaments that enable efficacy in action are all not good without qualification. It is because for a thing to be good without qualification, it must be “bad” as means to some end and “good” as means to another end. He says that these gifts of nature are not good if they are in a given character that is not good. When lying, you do not wish that others will lie since your lie will be of no benefit.


According to Kant, good will such as wealth, power, happiness, hour, general well-being among others can be said to be good if their influence gets corrected in mind. For instance, if you use your wealth for assisting people in society, that may be said to be good. You may use your wealth in corrupt and unappealing ways such as killings and, in this case, the good will is not good.


The reason according to Kant which has favored many creatures and served only to the focus of its happy nature is admiring it and congratulating itself for the purpose of feeling thankful. It does not subject its desires to the weak part with the purpose of nature. The reason is found to have applied itself for the in a deliberate purpose to the enjoyment of life. It is due to this that human doesn’t get the true satisfaction. For those who seem most experienced in this, hatred for reason arises because after calculation of all the advantages they get from art and sciences of common luxury, they find that they are faced with many challenges than before. It makes them envy people who use their instincts as their guides and thus do not allow reason to have a greater influence on their conduct.


The reason is not indeed the complete good but must be the supreme good for the condition of every other even the happiness desire. The reason that is the requisite for the unconditional purpose interferes with the attainment of a conditional purpose namely happiness. Since reason recognizes the development of goodwill and in attaining of purpose that is capable of attainment of an end and which is also determined by reason .this may lead to disappointment to the ends of inclination.


Kant says that an action motivation is a reason behind which it got done. He insists that one action can get done due to different motivations. He defines inclination as what a person feels like doing and a duty as what should get done. Actions may also get motivated by inclination and conformance to duty or by duty conflicting with inclination. To be genuinely moral, should be motivated by duty and not conform to duty.


In his example about the two people, one who assists people because he is moved by their suffering as he cares for them and the other assists them as it is his duty. According to Kant action by the first person are not morally worthy though pleasant since his actions are due to inclination and not duty. The second person’s actions are morally worthy as they are action provoked by duty.


Moral laws are like laws of nature, and they show facts that are true and do not depend on human desire. Some things whether you know them or not are ethically right or wrong. It is problematic since Kant does not disclose to us what moral law is but insists that we should believe and obey it.


Kant states that all actions should get done out of respect of law. He continues by saying that the only thing should be sought for respect is the law itself. He sees respect as the consideration of other causes of action while making a decision in analyzing a particular situation.


The three propositions that Kant has mentioned include the following; for an action to have moral worth it must be performed motivated by duty, an act done from duty has ethical worth only in the maxim according to which the deed is dogged, and duty is the prerequisite for an action done out of laws respect.


According to Kant, Universalizability is the principle that guides us in the moral will. It cannot be gained from the experience of purpose realism. He says that is a priori state of the will. Therefore, moral obligation is necessarily absolute and universal. Acting by the law of Maxim can serve as universal law. Kant’s morality analysis can be said to be duty-centered.


If we cannot make a lying promise, it means then that we ‘break promises.’ He says that if everyone used to break promises or to lie there would be nothing else to lie. Thus, the very about lies imply that not everything should be a lie. Thus lying in a promise is not necessarily a rule. Because it is illogical to want rational unpredictability, nobody would wish this to be a rule governing them. And since you cannot universalize this rule it is morally wrong to make lying promises.


Utilitarianism and Kantian all seem to be the same since they all start with the question. Kantian is based on functionality. According to Kant, one should not worry much about happiness. A Kantian should worry about whether they will bring logical problems whereas utilitarian concerns whether the rule will get us into psychological problems, so examples should not apply.


According to Kant will, should be based on moral values. One should reason with respect to the moral law that is said to be uniting in all people despite their thinking. He relates it to gravity that acts equally to everyone even those who wish otherwise. A person falling from a tree will still fall despite his wish not to fall. People fail to act by nature due to consideration of personal decisions such as human desire. Working from thought is against Kant, and he terms this as subjectivity. An obligation also sways one from following the moral laws in making decisions.


According to Kant command of the reason is the representation of an objective principle insofar as it necessitates the will. Imperative is the formula of this command. Imperatives say by ‘ought.’


Imperatives show that a good will would contain many subjects to the objective law but may not be said to be necessitated to act in conformity with the law as much as it can to itself regarding its subjective constitution. Necessitated in this case is used to say that they get made as the principle reason hold for everyone.


It is wrong to assert of a perfectly good will that it is constrained (obligated) to act in conformity with the moral law since we do not always wish to abide by the moral laws. In response, the moral laws outs certain obligations upon us. It is also due to the reason that imperatives get determined using reasons conception.


Wills that are not perfect are obligated to act in conformity with moral laws since people do not automatically to the moral laws like rocks abide by the laws of nature. In the case of rocks, it is not that they ought to obey the rules of nature but they morally have to obey the law of gravity.


Hypothetical imperatives are the commands that represent the realistic necessity of a probable action as a way of attaining something else that one wants. An example of a hypothetical imperative is when a person wishes to buy a machine, he ought to save money. They say an action is good if you want to fulfill a certain outcome.


The two types of hypothetical imperatives includes assertoric; this is this is a hypothetical imperative that represents the realistic necessity of an action as a way of endorsement of happiness. Prudence is a form of imperative that implies to the choice of a person’s happiness.  Action in hypothetical prudence imperatives are not commanded entirely but as a way to a additional principle.


The categorical imperative is the imperative that immediately commands an explicit conduct without having any other reason to be attained by it as its state. It is not concerned with the results rather than the action and principle followed. It shows that an action is always good despite your want. An example is when you ought to save cash if you want a new machine. In this sentence, it is not wrong if you do not have the money.


The difference between a hypothetical and categorical is that the hypothetical imperative deals with the command of reason that represents the realistic necessity of a probable action. This is as a way of attaining something else that one wants whereas categorical imperative is the imperative, which immediately commands a definite conduct without having any other reason to be attained by it as its state.


We cannot know what a hypothetical imperative will contain by just thinking of it since this is because the imperative does not contain an open necessity that the maxim should accord with this law. It is also restricted by the condition in its law.


Kant suggests that we try to figure out on what categorical imperative should be thinking about the universal characteristics of the categorical imperative in almost the same way that we identified what the moral law should be like by bearing in mind the very environment of law. He continues by saying that categorical imperative must be obligatory on everyone despite their desires. Thus, it must be universalizable. In summary, Kant insists that we should act with respect to the maxim that you can and at the same time will that it should be developed into universal law.


In connection with the term respect I may explain the universal law formulation of the categorical imperative. Respect is different from other feelings of the first kind since it is a feeling that is not received from outside atmosphere feeling such as heat. A rational concept produces it in a person mind. The fortitude of will by law and the perception is called respect and is regarded as the outcome of law upon a particular subject. Thus, law can be said to be the object of respect. Therefore, all moral interests consist solely of the respect in law.


According to Kant, a maxim is the subjective rule of acting and must be separated from the objective opinion known as the practical law. A maxim entails the practical rule that motive determines in harmony with the circumstances of the subject, and it is thus the standard according to which the subject does act. But the rule is the objective standard valid for every coherent being, and it is the code according to which he has to act. It tests for moral worth using the relationship between law and respect. If there is respect for law it is said to be worthy.


According to the second example, a man is forced to borrow money that he is sure that it will be hard to repay it. On the contrary, it is impossible for him to get the loan if he does not promise that he will repay it within the agreed time. If he decides to borrow the money, the maxim of this action will be: I consider myself to be requiring money I will have a loan and guarantee to pay it back, even though I know that I can never do so. This individual principle advantage may be compatible with person’s future, but is it right? If I put this to be a universal law, many will laugh at it since it seems vague.


The will is a facility of shaping itself to action in harmony with the representation of specific laws, and such a facility can be found only in coherent beings.


Material ends are the ends that a mere coherent being subjectively proposes to himself as the property of action based upon certain incentives. They are said to be simply relative since their relation to a specifically constituted faculty of wish in the matter gives them their value. They are also said to be ground for hypothetical imperatives, since their value cannot provide any universal values that are necessary and legal, for all coherent humans and suitable for any volition.


All the things of inclinations have only a conditioned worth. It is because if these inclinations and needs founded on them were not there, their object would be of no value.


According to Kant, thing can be said to be beings whose any object whose existence depends on nature have, as well as our will, nevertheless, if they are not rational beings have a relative value as means.


In regard of Kant’s study, persons are defined as any rational beings. Kant distinguishes person from thing by their definition as previously stated. Another difference is that objects of respect are beings which are not merely used as means but there is a limit imposed on their use.


Objective ends are ends that exist as ends in themselves. Such that an end is one for which there can be substituted no other end to which such beings should serve simply as means, for otherwise not anything at all of absolute value would be found anywhere.


The humanity formulation of the categorical imperative involves the practical imperative will be the following: act in such a way that you treat humanity whether in own person or another person, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.


To illustrate how the Humanity as an End in itself expression of the imperative categorical tests the moral worth of maxims, Kant uses four examples. In the first example, there is a man who contemplates committing suicide to escape life problems. The man will ask himself whether the action will be consistent with humanity at the end. Since man is not a thing, he must be regarded as an end in himself in all the actions that he undertakes. Therefore, it is not good if I dispose a man in my person by damaging, mutilating or killing him.


In this case of autonomy, we have a third principle that rejects all maxims that are not consistent with the wills own legislation of universal law.  The previous formulation of imperatives is clearly explained. The concept of duty was not explained previously leading to some assumption to be made. Determination contained in the willing from duty acts as a mark distinguishing the features. Such a will is said to be a supreme lawgiver who does not depend on any interest. Such a will being so reliant would thus require a law restricting the significance of self-love to the state that such interest should itself be suitable as universal law.


It is the necessity of acting from a certain interest that either may be own or others where the imperative is always conditional and could never serve as a moral command. Morality, on the other hand, is the relation of actions to the autonomy of will. They are related since the central principle of autonomy is the sole principle of morals and can be shown by simple analysis of the concepts of morality.


Heteronomy of the will results when the will seeks the law that is to decide it anywhere but in the fitness of its maxims for its own legislation of universal laws, and if it goes on the exterior of itself and seeks this law in the personality of any of its objects.