Hume Vs Kant

Hume Vs Kant Morality Hume vs. Kant David Hume and Immanuel Kant each made a significant break from other theorists in putting forward a morality that doesnt require a higher being or god, for a man to recognize his moral duty. Although Hume and Kant shared some basic principals they differed on their view of morality. In comparing the different views on human will and the maxims established to determine moral worth by David Hume and Immanuel Kant, I find their theories on morality have some merit although limited in view. Hume and Kant shared some basic principle of empiricism, but each took different directions on the theory of morality.

The moral theory of Hume was based on his belief that reason alone can never cause action. Hume proclaimed virtue is always accompanied by a feeling of pleasure, and vice by a bad feeling or pain. We are compelled to commit a virtuous action because it creates pleasant feelings, and we avoid doing a vicious act because it would cause pain or bad feelings. Hume’s moral theory is a virtue-centered morality rather than the natural-law morality. On the other hand, Kant uses deontological ethics to base his morality on reason alone.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Kant divides the world into two classes, beings with reason and a will like humans, and things that are considered inanimate and do not possess these qualities. The first class or humans are independent beings with their own purpose; having the capacity to reason and determine their own actions. The second class of inanimate things like rock or trees that dont possess reason or will, do not require consideration in our deliberations about what goals should be or the means to achieve them. However, human beings do deserve considerations in the goals we should have and the means we use to accomplish them. Kant believes the first class or humans are to be considered in how one acts morally. Reason alone is the element Kant believes motivates moral actions rather than Humes senses. Kant also differs from Hume on the concept of human will.

The essential difference between Hume and Kant that affected their whole thinking on the matter of morality was each one’s belief about the autonomy of the will. Hume believed that reason is primarily the slave of the passions. Morals excite passions and produce or prevent actions and reason is unimportant in this equation. Hume believed that the rules of morality could not be conclusions of reason. Hume proclaimed that although reason can judge notions, ideas and matters of fact, the most noticeable results never persuade us to action as much as the slightest emotion or feeling can do.

Hume proclaimed that we cannot derive ought from is — that is, the view that statements of moral obligation cannot simply be deduced from statements of fact. (Hume, 2001) Hume believed no data regardless of reliability or fact ever required a moral obligation or a result in action. Hume upheld that reason is, and ought to be the slave of the passions (Hume, 2001) Hume derived that human emotion flows from us naturally without the interference of reason. However, Kant saw the will as fully independent and needing no external sources for motivation making it possible to act out of reason alone. Kant believed reasoning can determine that some option is good or required and in doing so, it presents itself as a command or a judgment to act accordingly whether one wants to or not.

Kant believed reason could require us to act in a specific way. He shows this by using imperative statements. The hypothetical imperative or rule that if you wish to achieve something; then you ought to do a specific action to achieve the predetermined goal. Kant felt that this was an action based on a condition or purpose and had no moral worth. Kant believed that moral worth requires action without the conditional purpose, and felt this could be found in the form of the categorical imperative or unconditional law that applies to all which requires you to just perform the action regardless of the end.

In other words just do the action out of duty, whether you want to or not. These views led to a set of guidelines or rules Hume and Kant believe governs moral worth or virtue. Hume and Kant devised a set of maxims or rules that determines the essence of moral worth or virtue. Hume believing that morality is founded in individual sentiment he concludes that there are four categories or qualities that constitute moral virtue: (1) qualities useful to others, which include benevolence, meekness, charity, justice, fidelity and veracity; (2) qualities useful to oneself, which include industry, perseverance, and patience; (3) qualities immediately agreeable to others, which include wit, eloquence and cleanliness; and (4) qualities immediately agreeable to oneself, which include good humor, self-esteem and pride. (Hume, 2001) Hume thought that most morally significant actions seem to fall into one of these 4 categories.

Kant however believes that morality is based in the three formulas for the categorical imperative: (1) Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. (2) Act as though the maxim of your action were by your will to become a universal law of nature. (3) Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only.(Kant, 2001) According to Kant, acting for reasons one could acknowledge as unacceptable were someone else to act on them would be to act immorally. These individual maxims are worthy of consideration but the philosophers over all views are limited. I think the moral theories of Hume and Kant project a limited morality, which can lead to moral alienation because each emphasizes one element and denies another. Humans have the ability to reason its true but by nature we are emotional beings.

Hume bases morality in emotion, Kant in reason when in fact; I believe that both elements are required in order to enhance the concept of morality. I find that Hume considers individual sentiment central to his thinking if this is true virtue would be a matter of individual choice and there could be not a universal concept of morality. Kant on the other hand neglects emotion and thinks a moral life based in the senses would lack the reliability of one based on reason. I believe some emotions like love and caring can be very reliable. I think many times these emotions can be a strong motivator especially in relationships, which Kant also neglects.

In my view morals without reason to buffer us from emotions that create extreme action and rationality without emotion that would create robotics senseless actions would be chaos. Although Hume and Kant shared some ideas and principles they developed separate moralities and concepts that help in perceiving moral worth but deny elements essential to a balanced moral theory. Reference Kant. I, (2001). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Immanuel Kants Metaphysics (1724 1804) Retrieved October 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/k/kantmeta.htm#Emp iricism Kant. I, (2001).

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Immanuel Kants Metaphysics (1724 1804): Duty Retrieved October 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/k/kantmeta.htm#Emp iricism Hume. David, (1997-2001). Philosophy Pages: from Garth Kimerling. [Abstract]. Hume: Morality and Religion Retrieved November 01, 200 from the World Wide Web: http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/4v.htm#morality Hume, David (2001).

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [Abstract]. Summary of Hume’s Moral Theory, David Hume Moral Theory 1711-1776: Retrieved October 16, 200 from the World Wide Web: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/h/humemora.htm – Summary%20of%20Hume’s%20Moral%20Theory Bibliography Reference Kant. I, (2001). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Immanuel Kants Metaphysics (1724 1804) Retrieved October 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/k/kantmeta.htm#Emp iricism Kant.

I, (2001). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Immanuel Kants Metaphysics (1724 1804): Duty Retrieved October 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/k/kantmeta.htm#Emp iricism Hume. David, (1997-2001). Philosophy Pages: from Garth Kimerling. [Abstract].

Hume: Morality and Religion Retrieved November 01, 200 from the World Wide Web: http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/4v.htm#morality Hume, David (2001). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [Abstract]. Summary of Hume’s Moral Theory, David Hume Moral Theory 1711-1776: Retrieved October 16, 200 from the World Wide Web: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/h/humemora.htm – Summary%20of%20Hume’s%20Moral%20Theory Philosophy Essays.

x

Hi!
I'm Lydia!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out