Separating Morality From Law Essay

1055 words - 4 pages

The idea of separating morality from law is problematic. Regardless of anyone’s desire to separate the two, it is impossible. All law is moral or, as the case may be, immoral. The real question of the law is what those morals are. Immanuel Kant seemed unable to define a universal moral, which he indeed tried to define. Kant defined it in three parts. These morals he used to explain the best regime and the duties of citizens within that regime. Even though it seemed challenging for Kant to nail down a solid definition of universal morals, which may be generally applied to all, it appears that Kant believed that law or a republic was the best regime. The problem, which Kant understood, was the definition of moral law.
Kant tried to define a universal law as one in which one will “Act so that the maxim of your action might be elevated by your will to be a universal law of nature” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 591). In other words, do no harm to others. If your actions are such that everyone else could act similarly, then that action may be defined as a universal law of nature. For example, if your action is that of killing another human being, it may not become a universal law. No human being would be left in existence, if all acted similarly. A universal law of nature is one in which, all actions may be similarly acted by others without doing harm to others.
Another part of Kant’s definition is to “respect the right of humanity in oneself by refusing to allow others to treat one as a mere means and by demanding to be treated as an end” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 593). One must not manipulate others for their own personal interests. It may seem that an employer manipulates others for his own personal interest but the employee does, as well. If it is in both individual’s interest, as they determine themselves, to work mutually together as employer and employee, then that is not a manipulation. Slavery would be a manipulation of the labor force.
The final part of the issue of morals is “for the sake of the foregoing, to enter into a society in which the property of each can be guaranteed against others” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 593). Kant defined what the type of regime was and the purpose of the regime. “The sole innate right, the one upon which all others turn, is that guaranteeing every man’s liberty to perform every external act that he pleases so long as he does not encroach on the same liberty of others” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 603-604). Thus, it “appears that this lawful state, which must…be based exclusively on external liberty, will be that state by its nature opposed to despotism, namely, the republican state” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 604). Later, in discussing the legal state, Kant described the republic as one with three branches of government.
There are two items, which Kant discussed, that must be...

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