Kant's Metaphysics Of Morals Summary

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On page nine and ten of the first chapter of The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant, he discusses the propositions that he believes make up a moral decision. Kant believes that a moral decision is based on an individual’s principle. He defines a principle as one’s reason for acting. According to Kant, a moral decision is when an individual ignores their personal feelings, or what they want to do, and do something only because it is what they “should” or “ought to” do. Kant defines these actions that a person “ought” to do as a “law”, or an objective principle. For his first proposition of morality, Kant states that, “For an action to have genuine moral worth it must be done from duty (9).” Kant does not explain this…show more content…
Kant states that, “An action that is done from duty doesn’t get its moral value from the purpose that’s to be achieved through it but from the maxim that it involves (9).” A maxim is a subjective principle, or an individuals reasoning for acting. It does not matter whether the person achieves the task that they are trying to complete, only that the individual is trying to complete the task because they are doing the duty that they ought to do. As long as a task is attempted for a moral reason, the outcome of said task does not matter. This leads to the third proposition, which Kant describes as a “consequence of the first two [propositions].” The third proposition states that, “To have a duty is to be required to act in a certain way out of respect for law (10).” This proposition essentially means that actions motivated from duty are the only actions that have moral value. If the individual has any other factors or self-interest driving them to complete the duty, it is no longer moral. If one has a duty to be happy, they must only strive to do the duty because it is morally the correct thing to do, not because they actually want to be

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