Kant's Moral Theory And Liberalism: A Comparison

775 words - 4 pages

Kant's Moral Theory and Liberalism: A comparison Liberalism is a broad body of philosophy. It is defined as the set of philosophical and social theories that, despite their differences, are committed to a common set of presuppositions and principles (Goldberg 519). It is based on four general principles: individualism, universalism, equality, and reform. Individualism is the paramount principle. It is to protect the rights of people from the government. Universalism is a principle that is based on treating people universally. It establishes universal moral principles that are applicable to all human beings no matter what their particular historical, social or cultural differences. Equality is related to universalism. It is the principle for all humans to have an equal moral standard. This does not pertain to equality in distribution of goods. Reform states that society is to be improved by incremental, gradual reforms of things that don't work. Reform brings progress. One can be any type of Liberal. It all depends on which principle you stress most.Immanuel Kant's moral theory is made up of the principles of morality and rationality, the good will, imperatives, and autonomy. Kant's theory is a deontological theory. It is duty bound not consequential. One should act dutifully for duty's sake. The only right action is done for the sake of duty. Though constrained, actions done from duty are never the less free, because the principles of duty are self-legislated (Goldberg 94). Kant insisted that only the rational part of human nature is unchanging. "Moral action is rational action, and the supreme principle of morality must apply to all rational beings by virtue of their rationality" (Goldberg 92). Kant argued that although people are commanded by reason to act morally, they remain free and so are rationally responsible for their acts. Kant acknowledged that human nature functions according to laws. He believed that rational people were capable of willing that their actions be done for the sake of the moral law. "A will governed always by reason is a good will" (Goldberg 92). He believed that the only thing absolutely good is the good will. For Kant, a good will was to choose to act in a ...

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