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Letter To The General Public Concerning The Lack Of Morality In Our Society Due To Men Treating Women As Means And Women Not Asking To Be Treated ...

1555 words - 7 pages

After all my labors on defending the rights of women I have faced much opposition and resistance. Recently I happened upon a curious work by Immanuel Kant, which, perhaps unintentionally, perfectly illustrates my main point that women must be treated differently and must be allowed equal opportunities and education as men. We are human beings and as such we are rational beings. Our rationality should enable us to obtain a character, a virtue, and to improve, just like a man can; there is nothing different about the character or soul of a man that women lack so as to let only men accomplish moral virtue. Yet in our society, men treat women as toys, a mere tool for pleasure, and leave them no option to become anything more. Women in our society therefore are just not considered human beings. According to the principles of morality outlined by Kant, men’s treating us like a means to pleasure is immoral, but women not asking for more and allowing men to treat them so, is no less immoral. We must ask for equal educational opportunities to allow women to exercise their reason, open them up to virtue and morality, and we will have a more moral society composed of women who demand to be treated as ends in themselves and men who treat women in such manner.
Let us outline the main ideas of Kant’s work, which sets out to establish that the universal principles of morality exist. One of the fundamental concepts Kant draws on is that all human beings possess reason: this reason is what differentiates them from animals. “For since reason is not sufficiently fit to guide the will reliably with regard to its objects and the satisfaction of all our need – an end to which an implanted natural instinct would have led much more reliably – but reason as a practical faculty, i.e. as one that is meant to influence the will, has yet been imparted to us, its true function must be to produce a will that is good, not for other purposes as a means, but good in itself – for which reason was absolutely necessary – since nature has everywhere else gone to work purposively in distributing its predispositions.” Kant claims that human beings do not have reason simply to satisfy our needs, because a natural instinct would be better suited to achieve that satisfaction. However reason is what enables humans to have a good will, a will that is good in itself and not for another purpose. Nature gave us reason, and since nature would not just give us something we have no use for, the use of reason is to produce good , the only thing that has an unconditional worth. By good here we mean the objective universal good, otherwise known as morality. So we have then that Kant believes reason enables human beings to understand morality. We already established that nature gave reason to all human beings, and it is beyond doubt that women are also human beings. Therefore, women have reason in the same way men do. Yet, despite equal ability to reason, women are “sunk below the standard of...

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