PHIL 1 Lecture 24: Phil 1 Notes 24

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Published on 15 Sep 2020
Hao Tran
Intro to Philosophy
Notes: Phil 1
Topics for today:
What is the goal of Kant’s moral philosophy?
What is the “good will”, according to Kant?
The ought
Kant’s Groundwork is concerned with the “ought”, what he calls the supreme
principle of morality.
This is the standard to which we hold ourselves when we evaluate our actions
(judge them to be right or wrong).
Kant defines this standard as a law - the law of freedom
This law cannot be found in the natural world, since the laws of nature only
determine what does happen, not what ought to happen (even when it doesn’t)
In other worlds, a natural order to which all humans and things reside
Nature does not tell us what we should do.
Under Kant, a question we can ask is: should they have done this thing?
Laws of freedom, according to Kant, are the laws that determine what human beings
ought to do
Why law of freedom?
Kant calls the ought the law of freedom because it only makes sense of hold
people to standards, even if they are free to meet them
Example: no matter how terrible your childhood may have been, we expect you to
do the right thing.
Meaning: no matter the cause, there is always opportunity to be morally
correct. Ti be free is to be morally correct.
And when we expect you to do the right thing, we are assuming that you are free
to do it.
So for Kant (unlike Hume), freedom requires the ability to act against all of your
But it does not mean the ability to act randomly, but the ability to do the right
Think Socrates/Descartesidea of forms and perfect beings.
Universality and Necessity
The law of freedom is not limited to humans, but all rational beings, and it is
absolutely necessary to do.
You can't get universality and necessity from experience!
Kant agrees with POWERPOINT
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