Until Emmanuel Kant, God, primarily the western Religion of Christianity's concept of God, was of an elevated stature over humans when concerning the issue of morality. This however was to be questioned due to this philosopher’s works on this subject. All philosophers preceding him also tried to solve and define this mystical thing called moral good.
For Kant this journey had a side benefit. He discovered that it was all more impressive to be good as a human than God itself. For a human to do the right or moral thing means that a decision must be made to side with the duality within each person, to be moral or follow the animalistic nature of inclination. This inclination is the desire, primarily, to be happy. To be moral means adhering to codes of goodness and selflessness. This might involve running into a burning building to rescue a child. This doesn't make one happy, because one doesn't say, "I could die or I could live. Ya know, I think I'll take the first option...Yippee." This seems ludicrous, that one would choose the good of one over the good of another, and not chose yourself. But this is what elevates us above the rest of the life on the planet, that we will chose to serve the laws of morality and justice, while putting aside one's own happiness.
God on the other hand has no such decision to make. God only knows morality. There is no weighing or balancing of conflicting agendas, be it morality or desire. This is what I choose to tag Kanflict. God's decision is all the less impressive because morality is the only option. For us humans it is all the more difficult and therefore impressive to choose morality over desire to serve our own happiness.
Kant has therefor shown that Plato's analogy of the Ring of Gygies is not the perfect life that Hobbes was wrong when he said that the best life was to be able to do whatever suited our desires. He has shown this to be false with the fact that humans feel a contradiction in our own will. In other words, we feel guilty and awful after we have chosen the less glorious, but all the more easy and gratifying in the short term, way out called desire.
This contradiction is caused by a series of things which Kant outlines and discusses in his discussion of the Metaphysical. A few of these components are: a priori, a posteori, maxim, will, and law. These are simply words for the parts that make up a decision, and it is important to understand their relationship to the imperatives or reasons for an action. The three imperatives are…
1. Skill…how something is carried out.
2. Hypothetical, suggestions of what will make one happy, desires
3. Moral, this is simply the ought to part of a decision or the conscience.
The first two, when combined, are a formula for happiness. This is not, as it is to Hobbes, the best possible life and is second in our mind to the third imperative, moral or categorical. This is simply to say that one knows what is the moral thing to do and must, in some cases, choose over happiness when conflicts of interest occur chose the moral way. How does one know what is moral? The terms before assist me with this answer. A priori is the knowledge we have of what is good or bad, moral or immoral, that is known without experience. For example, it is wrong to rape. A posteori is less glorious and pure, but it has a similar effect. It is the knowledge of something from experience. The maxim is the action which one's will considers and weighs before doing it. In other words it is the word for the whole process discussed here. These all assist the understanding of what is moral, called the categorical imperative. The imperative is broken down into a few parts. Unlike the hypothetical, one knows before an action what one must do. It is immediate. It is also an end in itself. It must be universally true and to be good one must make it the maxim of one's action. "The categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as objectively necessary in itself, without any reference to any other end."
Kant is trying to say that an action must be purely only done for the purpose of doing that action, without any other motive or reason for doing it. Charity is a good example of this. People often give to charity because it is good to help others, but they also get to feel good and show off to their friends with little medals of plaques. This destroys the good of the original moral reason for doing that action. That is why it is so much more impressive to do moral acts as a human than God. For God only has one option, only one imperative for doing an act. Whereas a human has three kinds of imperatives. One might have 20 desires and one moral reason to do an act and still chooses the moral way out. To be purely moral may be next to impossible, for I have never known a purely moral act myself. But perhaps, it is possible and here lies the potential for glory of a more impressive stature than the divine.
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