Kantian Notions

'Critically discuss the connection that Kant makes between morality and freedom.'

Kant's views on morality and freedom are complex and difficult to understand. One of the primary distinctions that he makes in morality is between hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives. A hypothetical imperative has an end connected with a causal means. Essentially it's an if/then statement. For instance, if you want to get stronger then exercise.

A categorical imperative is a moral law with no end. For instance, exercise. Given such a moral command you may ask, "Why?" Kant says that there is no answer to that. All rational beings in the universe have universal intuitions about a grand moral law. True freedom is making decisions according to this moral law. If you choose to go against this law then it's neither moral nor is it a free decision. This law is made by rational moral agents freely choosing moral actions that write the law that you must intuitively follow to be both moral and free. If you do this then there might be a kingdom of ends of some type, even though there are no ends or reasons for categorical imperatives, other than that rational beings intuitively know the universal law that they must follow to be moral and free that they also make by making their free and moral choices.

People have spent their entire lives trying to untangle such Kantian notions.



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