Immanuel kant on law and justice essay

Preface to Kant's The Philosophy of Law: It was published in2 as the First Part of his Metaphysic of Morals, 3 the promised sequel and completion of the Foundation for a Metaphysic of Morals, 4 published in A second Edition, enlarged by an Appendix, containing Supplementary Explanations of the Principles of Right, appeared in It was translated into French by Professor Tissot in4 of which translation a second revised Edition has appeared.

Immanuel kant on law and justice essay

It is said that Kant never traveled further than 10 miles from his home town in all of his 79 years. However unlikely or apocryphal these stories remain, they do not diminish the legacy Kant has left to the world of ideas.

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I am more interested in examining the basis of morality Kant describes in a short follow-up work, the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, first published in First, Kant presupposes that there is a moral law. That is, there exists some basis for morality beyond subjective description of it.

He then begins with a series of identifications to answer how the moral law possibly gives a pure abstract form of a moral law that will ask if it is really moral. He says the only good thing that exists without qualifications is a good will or good intentions.

Other things may bring goodness, but always with qualifications. For example, happiness is a good thing in itself, but if there is a qualification that a happiness could be caused by harming someone, it is no longer good. He, thus, further defines it as: In other words, a good will does the right thing only for the reason that it is the right thing, and for no other reason.

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Kant continues, however, by proposing a solution in the form of a universal moral law that can be inserted as a sort of formula to determine the correctness of any particular action.

So this means that, for every action you perform, you could potentially create a universal rule based on that action. The categorical imperative must meet these demands: There are no proper names or group distinctions allowed in any context of a moral rule, either to attribute with praise or with blame.

There are no unique exceptions, and it can be applied on a universal level to everyone equally. Kant draws four principles from the categorical imperative.


The autonomy of this decision leads to personal responsibility, and excludes any other reason to act that was not from our own free will. For example, if God himself ordered you to do something, and you followed the command, it would not be moral because it was not derived from your own free will.

Morality comes only from the decisions you make, and not from decisions that are made for you by others.

With these four principles, Kant describes how a moral individual would act using the categorical imperative. If everyone on earth thought the same way as Kant, this might be true. For the sake of argument, using extreme examples is the clearest way to make a point or find a weakness. In this case, then, imagine that a group of Nazis comes to your door and asks if you are hiding any Jews, or if you know the location of any Jews.

You are hiding a family of Jews in a secret basement. Do you answer truthfully to the Nazis, or do you lie to them in order to save the Jewish family? According to him, moral actions do not derive their value from the expected consequences in this case, presumably saving the Jewish family, or sending them to their doomand that it is required to tell the truth to the Nazis.

So, in the case of the Nazis, would we be willing to ask them if they considered their actions to be moral from a corresponding universal lawand to accept their answer?

Does there really even exist an idea of universal morality, or is it something that humans invent and construct based on our present knowledge and understanding of the world and human nature?Immanuel Kant concerns himself with deontology, Theories of Justice Introduction The theme of justice is the most relevant in Kant Moral Law Theory Essay.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that his retributive theories of justice were based in logic and reason. The retributive stance on punishment.

Immanuel kant on law and justice essay

Kant’s Morality: Summary and Problems Immanuel Kant () is one of the most important and influential modern philosophers. He was born in Königsberg, the ancient, seven-bridged Prussian capital which became, in (after deportation of most of the German population to the Gulag archipelago), the bizarre Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.

As I discussed in my last essay, Immanuel Kant distinguished justice from other moral principles by noting that the rules of justice pertain exclusively to external actions and do not depend on virtuous motives for their fulfillment. It is primarily for this reason that only the rules of justice can properly be the subject of human (or “positive”) legislation.

Immanuel Kant Essay Business Ethics Immanuel Kant constantly stressed that we have a sense of duty that follows a law like characteristic, and in turn we are all autonomy individuals.

We as human beings are self- law giving, and constantly seek to harmonize our realm of ends.

Search this Site This action varies depending on the degree of obligation:

According to Immanuel Kant’s theories and views he would try to oppose this law. The general definition of theft is the taking of another person’s property without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

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