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Kants Political Writings Essay: Categorical Imperative

Date:  2021-05-26 06:24:37
7 pages  (1911 words)
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To talk about and inquire into Kant's political philosophy has its difficulties. Unlike so many other philosophersPlato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas, Spinoza, Hegel, and others, he never wrote a political philosophy. Kants literature enormous, however, few books cover his political philosophy, and, of these, there is only one that is worth studying is Kant Political Writings, that was edited by H.S. Reiss. Immanuel Kant mainly wrote about political and social philosophy for the sole purpose of championing the Enlightenment, as well as bringing forth the idea of freedom. The Kants political writings are based on natural law, as well as the social contract traditions. In essence, based on social contract and natural law, Kant is assertive to hold that every rational being is entitled to the right of freedom, as well as the duty to enter into civil conditions that are governed within the paradigm of social contract, and this is mainly to enable the person to preserve that freedom. Kantian writings on the issue of political philosophy are largely based on the doctrine of right, as well as the metaphysics of morals. Kant has written about these aspects in his political books.

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The political philosophy that Kant writes about is a branch of practical philosophy, which is one of the broadest areas and division of Kants thought sandwiched between theoretical and practical philosophy. It applies categorical imperative. Even so, Kants political philosophy is distinguished within the realm of practical philosophy from proper virtues, as well as from empirical elements. However, Kant clearly articulates that virtues differ, and considering empirical elements, it is vital to articulate that practical philosophy, the major body of Kants philosophical writings, is a set of rules that govern a free behavior that is encompassed and practiced by rational beings and cover all human actions in both applied or pure, or rather, impure or empirical aspects. These aspects are however different. In pure practical philosophy, the subsequent rational elements as implemented in practical philosophy is considered an abstraction from anything else that is empirical, which is at this moment referred by Reiss in the book, Political Writings as the metaphysics of morals. Immanuel Kant emphasized on the priority that should be taken off the real aspect of political philosophy by asserting that that everything done, it may be correct in theory but of no use in practice. For this reason, Kant always considers the practicability of the application of the political philosophy, whereby what he writes can be applied in practice. As such, Kant opposes the view he associates with philosopher Hobbes, who opines that the politician need should not be concerned about the general right but only with the pragmatic governance. For this reason, Kant takes further the issue of morality in politics by asserting that every individual should have their freedom, which should be their right and does not consider complete governance to give freedom to the people. Even so, Kant also included a pragmatic, empirical, as well as impure study of human behavior as part of his major works, the practical philosophy. Since most of his works consider the application of ethics and morals, Kant calls the empirical human behavior study as an agent of a particular culture and natural capacities of anthropology.

For this reason, Political Writings by Kant not only present the Kantian branch of practical philosophy but also is dependent on the Kants core of practical philosophy to present its arguments. Also, Kants practical philosophy and the categorical imperative that governs his political realm are the backbones of what is thought of today as the proper ethics, as what currently govern human behavior, especially within the political arena. Kant writes that the practical philosophy is mainly concerned with the various rules of behavior in special regard to the freedom of choice, which is opposed to the theoretical philosophy realm that is primarily concerned with the rules of knowledge. In essence, the categorical imperative guides Kants practical philosophy by providing the various rules that govern deliberate human actions. In addition, the Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals holds that morals and ethics are imperative in the political context unless the society is to be rocked with socio-political problems. In essence, the metaphysics of morals are included in Kants main arguments that the categorical imperative is considered the supreme rule for deliberative actions for humans, which he considers the groundwork to prepare people for morality.

The metaphysics of morals has two distinct areas, the doctrine of value, as well as the doctrine of right. Immanuel Kant in his political writings sought to separate political duties and rights from morals. Even so, Kant acknowledges that rights should be limited as absolute power can hamper morality. In essence, Kant asserts that rights should be restricted based on three conditions, which have to be met so that something becomes enforceable as a right. Firstly, Kant claims that rights should only concern the various actions that have a particular influence on other people, either directly or indirectly, and this means that duties of an individual should be excluded. Secondly, Kant asserts that rights should not concern the wish, but only the choice of others, which translates to the fact that decisions that bring about actions are at stake, not the mere desires of the people. For this reason, actions are considered to be the main component that defines human behavior, not the desires, because actions define the human behavior, not the actions. Thirdly, Kant asserts that rights do not concern the matters of other individuals acts, but only the form. By opining this, Kant means that no particular ends or desires are assumed on the part of the agents. For example, Kant considers trade on this assertion, where a right must have the form of being freely agreed upon by the parties involved, as well as a purpose or any matter the agents want. As such, the right of the traders must be approved by the two sides regardless of what they are trading, and thus, the right has to be inclusive of lack of coerced agreement where one party is not deemed to take advantage of the other. Even so, the criteria appear to be less rigid that what Kant ultimately intends, because the term influence is considered vague enough and this might even be inclusive of far-reaching minor effect. The criteria Kant uses can also include under right provisions even for those imperfect duties that can influence others through their improvement, for example, beneficent actions of charity. As such, in politics, Kant considers the beneficent action as part of the right and does not include that right needs the beneficents actions but mots of their actions are only permitted by right and its violation. As such, Kant focusses on individual choice, which entails that any action of the beneficent individual or party, which subsequently usurps or interferes with the recipients free choice, as per the categorical imperative, is wrong. For example, improving the property of the recipient without any permission as opposed to the mere donation of money to fund made available to the recipient is inherently wrong.

Besides, these three preconditions of right, Kant goes ahead and offers direct contrasts between freedom and virtue. Kant believes both relate to freedom, but in different ways, in that right is mainly concerned about outer freedom while virtue is primarily correlated to inner freedom, which is translatable to being the master of ones passions. In essence, rights are concerned about the acts themselves, and thus, according to Kants opinion, they are independent on the intended motive that an agent might have while performing them. On the other hand, the virtue is mainly concerned about proper motive based on dutiful actions. In another point of view, Kant asserts that rights are concerned about the concern of universality, which is the formal condition of embracing freedom while virtues are mainly concerned about the necessary end that is beyond the mere formality of universality, and therefore, it appears to tie the distinction between the two formulas of the categorical imperative. He also articulates that the rights are mainly concerned about the virtue wide duties, as well as the narrow functions. Besides, Kant also notes that a power can be considered as the subset of morally correct actions that are primarily coerced. The alternative formulations highlighted of the distinctions excludes imperfect duties not because they are not capable of influencing others, but because they are imperfect, they are not coercible in some cases as imperfect duties will always allow for the moderating role for peoples inclinations. Even though these formulations brought forth by Kant appear different, they can be summarized by pointing out that rights are primarily concerned about the outer action that corresponds to perfect duty that can subsequently affect others despite their internal goals or motivations.

In the book, Kant claims that as per categorical imperative, freedom is by state. Kant goes ahead and asserts that there is only one innate right for humans, freedom. He refers freedom as the independence from being constrained by another persons choice. However, Kant goes ahead and asserts that the right to liberty can coexist with the freedom of each other person, and by the universal law. Kant rejects any other basis or the state, and in particular, he argues that the welfare of the citizens within a political context cannot be based on the power of the state. He goes ahead and argues that states not be in a position to legitimately impose any specific conception of incorporating happiness upon its citizens. In so doing, as Kant opines, it would be for the ruler to treat its citizens as children because such an action would be based on the assumption that they are inherently unable to comprehend what is truly harmful or useful to themselves.

In essence, this claim can further be understood using Kants more general claim that within the moral law realm, moral laws cannot be based on empirical goods, including happiness. For instance, in the Groundwork, Kant gives contrasts between ethics of autonomy, whereby the will or practical reason itself is on the basis for its law, and thus, from the ethics of heteronomy, something should be independent at will, including inclusion of happiness, and therefore, this is the basis of moral law. In addition, in the critique of practical reason, Kant asserts that happiness, which is synonymous to the agreeableness of life whenever things go in accordance to an individuals desires and wishes, even though it is a concept that is universally sought by people, it is not specific enough to entail any specific universal desires in humans. Kant goes further to point out that even though there are universal desires among humans, the desires because they are empirical, they are merely contingent, and for this reason, they are unworthy of being the basis for pure moral laws. Therefore, from Kants view, happiness is a varying aspect, as least on the global scene, and thus, because it can change from one location to another or from an individual to another, it cannot be the basis for defining moral law, even in the political point of view. In essence, there is no particular understanding or conception that happiness can be realized by pure principle can be applied in a particular state, and thus, it is only acceptable that the general conception of happiness is a vague concept to serve by enacting laws. For this reason, the universal principle of...

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