Immanuel woke Kant up on problems he had

Immanuel Kant’s first book on moral philosophy, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, gives the world a look into how morality is the building blocks to understanding what he calls the categorical imperative. For Kant, morality is something that all rational beings can make for themselves simply because they are rational. No desire can replace morality because not all rational humans will, necessarily and universally, have the same desires. Kant challenges himself to solve what he called “Hume’s problem”. David Hume says that all knowledge is beyond perception, therefore memory is created on the relation of cause and effect. Kant disagrees with Hume’s conclusion because he believes causality is rational. Kant says in the Prolegomena that when he read David Hume, it “awakened him from his dogmatic slumber.” Hume’s An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding woke Kant up on problems he had noticed in Philosophy that he couldn’t see before. After reading through this a drive was put in Kant to give a response to Hume on what he would fix about his metaphysics. Kant did not feel that Hume dealt with these matters correctly and decided to start where Hume ended, specifically addressing the question of whether metaphysics as a science is possible. This ultimately led to what Kant thought Hume was missing, the possibility of synthetic “a priori” knowledge. In order to find out whether metaphysics as a science is possible, Kant first creates a clear distinction between two concepts of the metaphysical world. These two are empirical and “a priori” concepts. Empirical concepts contain ideas that we obtain through experiences in the world. This is knowledge that comes from the human senses, including scientific knowledge. On the other hand, “a priori” concepts are knowledge that isn’t justified by appeal to the senses. There is no experiment needed to determine two plus two is four, it is an intuitive thought from nature that we seem to be born with. Kant argues that epistemological knowledge in metaphysics has to be synthetic “a priori”. “A priori” in Latin means, “What was before”. Math is “a priori” for Kant, so this example of two plus two equals four is broken down into two characteristics, necessary and universal. Two plus two doesn’t just contingently equal four, it is not possible for humans to think that the answer is anything else than four. Therefore two plus two necessarily has to equal four. Kant says the same applies to all “a priori” knowledge. Next, “a priori” knowledge is universal, this means that certain truths like the angles of a triangle adding up to one hundred and eighty degrees is true without exception. There is no time and place throughout the cosmos where two plus two doesn’t equal four. In this sense, math is universal and the same goes for all other “a priori” knowledge. These two characteristics are important because they give a test on whether a certain knowledge is empirical or “a priori”. This idea is central to Kant’s entire Metaphysics and Epistemology. Kant says that moral actions are created for the very reason of morality alone. This way of thinking leads to the conclusion that to fully comprehend morality one has to be based on “a priori” concepts of reason. The only way something is universally valid is if its moral ideas are based on “a priori” concepts.To understand how to make judgements, Kant gives two kinds of judgement called analytic and synthetic. An analytic judgement is one where the concept of the judgement’s predicate is contained in the concept of the judgements subject. What this means is that analytic truths are true by definition. For example, saying that a married person has a spouse is analytic by the concept of marriage is implicitly contained in that concept of a spouse. Synthetic judgements are the opposite of analytic. Kant says judgements are synthetic when they take the concept of a subject and then connect to a new concept to it that wasn’t already contained in it. Therefore, synthetic truths are not true by definition. Now take the same example of married man but change the idea to, “A married man is sad”. Since the concept of sad is not part of the definition of married, that proposition is a synthetic judgement. Kant calls synthetic judgements ampliative. This is unlike analytic judgements because they connect new information to the judgements subject concept that wasn’t already contained in it. In that way they actually extend our knowledge beyond what was already contained in the definition of the subject.Now there are two distinctions, “a priori” and empirical concepts, and analytic and synthetic judgements. This is how most philosophers thought before Kant. Finding out how they relate is where the connection happens next for Kant which leads him to try to correct it. First is that all analytic judgements are “a priori”. If they are analytic then they are true by definition or as Kant put it, “They are true just in virtue just in virtue of how a judgement’s subject concepts and the predicate concepts relate to each other”. Yet, if the judgements are just conceptual then the truth doesn’t depend on experience or senses, so they’re “a priori”. Empirical knowledge is synthetic. If its empirical, then the knowledge depends on experience and senses, but there is more than just what meets the eyes. Empirical knowledge can not be analytic, so therefore it has to be synthetic. This connection that happens for Kant leaves him with just one distinction. Analytic judgements are all of the” a priori” knowledge we know while empirical knowledge makes up all of the synthetic judgements. This theory was made very clear by David Hume, but Kant thinks this theory is missing something. What it is missing is the possibility of synthetic “a priori” knowledge. Kant uses math as an example to show that we can’t use experiments relying on our senses. After formulating this idea of “a priori” concepts, Kant says that the one thing in this world that is actually good is what is called “good will”. Although it doesn’t always have a good result, the idea of a “good will” is inherently good because there is a willingness to it. There are two main implications that take place within the action of a “good will”. The first one is that moral actions don’t have the capacity to have impure motivations. A lot of impure motivations exist but Kant wants to spend his time mainly on the pursuit of happiness and the act of self-preservation. The second implication is that these moral actions cannot be established on the speculations of the probable results. This is not a good action in itself but overall is good because it brought a more superior conclusion . Therefore, Kant finds himself at the conclusion that for an action to be known to have actual moral worth, its motivation must commit to dutifulness to a moral law.In Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant gives the reader three propositions about what it takes to pledge duty to a moral law. The first one is that will is by nature a morally good action only if it is made in accordance from duty, rather than an action done in accordance with duty. The next proposition is that all actions are determined by a “maxim” or a principle that was motivating behind an action. When someone does an action only with motivation of serving a sense of duty, it is known that they are performing a valid “a priori” action. Yet, if that person decides to be apart of an action just to satisfy their desired result, then that person’s motivation is beyond mere duty because their is a purpose for them wanting to perform the action. The third proposition explains that it is not the respect and fear of the power of the law but actually is the inner moral motivation that lives inside of an individual who accepts the rule that the law is a necessary reason that outweighs people’s interests and desires.The way Kant describes will is the following of practical reason. Someone who has the ability to use their behavior by the reasonable rules of laws is then a rational being. Having a strong discipline of action is what Kant refers to as the will. Judgement that gives us help with an action is what is called imperative. Imperatives are broken down into two sides, hypothetical or categorical. A hypothetical imperative acknowledges an action as correct or necessary if it is wanting to accomplish a task. Actions like this come from previous experiences and help guide people to achieve their desires. Therefore, an action that’s goal is to gain a distinct amount of desire cannot be valid universally all the time. With the goal of the pursuit of happiness, people are not able to make any hypothetically universal imperatives for happiness. This leads to relativism, meaning that everyone has their own interpretation of happiness. Someone’s happiness can be someone else’s sadness

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