Sunday, November 19, 2006
Kant and Morality
Kant and Morality: Often considered the last great philosopher of the Enlightenment era, Immanuel Kant put forth a moral philosophy based solely upon reason itself. As the archetypal German idealist, Kant contended that through reason, every man will arrive at the same conclusion concerning morality. And that is the universal moral law or what Kant called the "categorical imperative." The categorical imperative declares that man should always act in a manner such that the maxim of his action shall become a universal law. In other words, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Luke 6:31). Moreover, Kant claimed that no man should make himself an exception to this moral law since it effectively holds true for everyone. In doing so, Kant suggested that mankind will raise its collective moral consciousness. That is, people will be treated as ends rather than means, and thus, the kingdom of ends will manifest itself on Earth in the form of a republic. But when Kant stated, "the death of dogma is the birth of morality," it was clear for him that organized religion and objective morality were mutually exclusive concepts.