One of the greatest philosophers of the 18 Century
Comes at the end of the Modern Period that began with Descartes
What is morally good without qualification?
The highest good must not only be good in itself, it must be good without qualification.
There can be no situations in which adding the highest good makes the situation morally worse.
Adding pleasure/happiness to some situations makes the situation morally worse (Sadism).
So, happiness can’t be the highest good.
Why Kant was NOT a Utilitarian
He thought it makes moral agents dependent on that which they cannot control – the future outcomes
of their actions.
But, people CAN control their intentions, or their “will” – the faculty behind voluntary choice.
So, Kant makes ethics dependent on “Good Will,” i.e. tintention to do the right thing
The Good Will
Absolutely and unconditionally good
A kind of ultimate good
We cannot think of a situation in which we’d find it desirable to give up our good will (= our moral
worthiness) in exchange for something else.
So, a good will imore worth having than anything else.
What MAKES someone’s will morally good? Kant’s Answer:
A Good Will is A WILL CONTROLLED BY REASON
Each of our faculties has a unique function or purpose.
The purpose of PRACTICAL REASON is to control volition.
Reason can stop us before we act as we please.
When does someone exhibit a good will?
When their will is controlled by reason
When they act from duty
To act from duty = to do somethinbecause duty requires it, not because