Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham

Preston Wilkey Section 4 http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2016/04/post-1-preston-wilkey.html
My first post is going to be about Kant and his view on morality. Kant believed morality had nothing to do with how you felt, whether that was sympathy, compassion or any type of emotion. He believed that to act moral one had to do what was right because it was their duty. If someone was to help a victim of some crime because they felt sorry for them, then Kant would say they did not act morally. However if someone helped that same victim out of a sense of duty then he would say that person acted morally. I think Kant thought this because if the person that helped the victim out of sympathy or some type of emotion; did not have that emotional push to do so, then they would not help the victim. The person that has no emotional drive to help the victim is fighting emotions which can be very hard because I think most of people’s decisions are based on how they feel. I kind of agree with Kant on this certain scenario, but I think the person that acted out of emotion is still moral because their heart, as one might say, is good. They actually have feelings for the people around them. I also would give equal praise to the person that fought their feelings to go out of their way and help someone because that takes some self-discipline.

            Kant’s view on intentions I disagree with because it is too extreme. In A Little History of Philosophy there is a scenario of your friend being chased by a killer comes in your home and you are faced with the choice to lie to the killer about where they are, or tell the truth. I do not think that lying in this case about where your friend is located is morally wrong. The excuse was because you cannot make the generalization that everyone should lie when it benefited them. This is a little different from lying about doing your homework and telling a lie that will save a life. In this case I believe you should tell the killer a lie because a life is much more precious than breaking Kant’s rule of never lying. I would think Kant would understand this because he himself believed that the difference between animals and humans was our ability to think about the consequences of our choices.

Overall I think Kant had a very good argument about moral philosophy and if you could imagine a society where his principles were in place and everyone followed them it would be a nice place to live. However people might start to lose their feelings toward other people which I think would be a sad world but that is just a guess. He did make it available for everyone, no matter how mean and cold you are, to be able to act morally. The philosopher that I will compare to Immanuel Kant will be Jeremy Bentham.

Preston Wilkey

1 comment:

  1. "Kant would understand this because he himself believed that the difference between animals and humans was our ability to think about the consequences of our choices" - yes, but... he didn't trust us to make the right moral decisions when thinking about consequences.

    I guess I agree, if we were all consistent Kantians doing our duty we'd create a nice world. But what if we misperceive our duty? In that case, isn't it good to have emotion and inclination to fall back on? THink about Huck Finn and his friend the runaway slave Jim. "Alright," said Huck, who misperceived his duty and thought he was doing WRONG to help Jim but did it anyway. "I'll just go to hell." Unfortunately most of us aren't prepared to do that.

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