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The Intentions And Consequences Of An Action

1336 words - 6 pages

I. Kant and the Categorical Imperative:
It is generally understood that society would tear itself apart if people suddenly stopped following a few fundamental laws; such as, crimes that deal with arson, theft, and murder. In addition to these basic guidelines, most people tend to follow a simple set of moral ‘rules.’ Now, these rules basically involve things like respect, honour, and dignity considering society is not only filled with law-abiding citizens, but also people who want to live a good, honest life. Furthermore, most people understand that the Criminal Code is more important than something like common courtesy because people are more likely to commit violent crimes when there are no consequences for their actions. However, morality is still a crucial part of a rational person’s life since it is essentially a code of conduct that tells them how to act in any given situation. Even though there are various definitions for morality, it is still seen as the same thing in the end because it involves doing the right thing at any given time. After all, every decision boils down to the distinction between what people want to do and what they ought to do considering most people are willing to tolerate some pain, especially if they believe it will eventually lead to some pleasure. For example, university students will deal with the stress of exams and essays because they know their degree will help them get a solid career. In other words, humanity can realistically survive without a moral code; although, it would obviously not be an ideal place to live. Additionally, it is safe to assume that rational people not only choose to live a moral life, but also make decisions based on thoughts instead of feelings since they are more stable. With this in mind, Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals is an instruction manual that describes how a rational person ought to act.
The first thing to remember is that actions are important when discussing the works of Kant because he not only places more emphasis on intentions than consequences, but he also believes that it is the person’s character that determines the rightness of any action. As a matter of fact, Kant was more interested in the actions people ought to perform because he thinks they have one purpose, and that is happiness (Kant, G.M.M. Sec. 2, p. 26). With this in mind, Kant believed that rational people only act within reason when they choose to engage in activities that they do not want to do because their good will should override their thoughts and desires (Kant, G.M.M. Sec. 1, p. 7). For example, a responsible university student is more likely to study for their exams instead of getting drunk every night at the bar. Furthermore, the student is not only likely to receive better grades for putting more effort into their education, but they will also save be able to save some money by not wasting it on such a simple pleasure. Generally speaking, Kant is all about...

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