Kant’s Theory of Rising above the Feelings
Currently, Kant’s moral philosophy of passion and feeling has undergone significant transformation from different philosophers. One of the revivals that this theory has undergone is the introduction of emotions as an integral and acceptable factor which influences and individuals or society moral action. According to Kant theory” Rising above feelings,” human beings have always had the ability to rise above their feelings in the attempts to do the right thing. He suggests that there is no excuse for crime of passion (Patrick, 28). This work will indicate whether Kant’s view is too strong, whether there are circumstances where person’s acts may be excused for failing to do the right, why a person may be excused, criticism of those who refuse to be excused and what distinguishes the cases which I would not excuse a person .
Kant’s view of rising above feelings is too strong because most of his work is based on the metaphysics of morals which contain the doctrine of virtue and right. His use his work to the power of human judgment when faced with a certain life challenge. In the theory, Kant’s rely on observation and ideas in regard to human nature (Kant & Reiss 152). He argues that a supreme moral principle for a human being must be discovered through a method of pure moral philosophy. His philosophy is grounded on the principle of operations of reason. Although the principle of operation of action can tell us how people can act it cannot tell how human being ought to act. According to Kant’s argument, the commands of morality are always unconditional. Kant’s argument in regard to autonomy is one of the most distinctive, central and influential feature of ethics. He defines autonomy as a property of the will of which it is a law to itself. He suggest that moral agent will is independent in the sense that it offer moral law to itself and also motive itself in following the law (Gordon, 20). Therefore, the source of moral law is basically not in the agent’s feeling but it naturally implies itself to the human nature. The universal wills are usually governed by external authority rather than self driven law of reason. Kant suggests that non humans will be governed by heteronymous wills rather than moral agent will (Kant & Reiss22).
Kant believes that there are circumstances in which we can rightly excuse a person for failing to act in the right way owing to his feelings. Kant separates human agent into sensible and intelligent world. This separation is the centrality of freedom of ethics for which the intelligent human locate their autonomy. He suggests that the human nature may either be determined by inner self or the world of the sense. The sensible world is controlled by the forces of nature, it is always in time and it helps human beings cognition of the world (Kant & Reiss 25). The intelligible world is neither controlled by laws of nature but they are controlled by laws which govern appearances and objection in human cognition. Kant’s theory of the “Rising above feelings” believes that morality usually present itself to human beings in an imperative form which together with different facts about our personified world we derive our specific moral duties. Metaphysics of morals which comprise the doctrine of rights expresses our inner right to freedom, matters of our private and right (Gordon, 23). In addition, the theory explain the doctrine of virtue which calls for individuals to avoid being arrogant, servility and ensure that they meet their own means of happiness. Kant does not derive his argument from supreme principle or categorical imperatives but he consider the facets of natural world and human nature in transforming the general code of morality and individual moral duties.
Kant considers that morality aims that human being character must have the highest good character in their action. Although his concern is in regard to the rational nature, his theory contains different kinds of ultimate ends. He believes human action should consist of practical reasons which ensure that they follow the universal, maximum happiness and maximum happiness (Kant & Reiss 61). The reason as to why he emphasizes for the highest personal good is because he believe that human beings actions be virtually unconditional and happiness to be conditional good. He suggests that there is not ultimate good which can be regarded collative well for all. It is from his principle good action that Kant argues the rationale of immortality and the belief in God (Patrick, 45). Kant argues that doing good indicates human commitment to religious believes. He believes that in order for the human nature to ensure complete compliance with moral law there must a good stipulated framework in which the individual actions are guided.
If I was to choose such an instance I would choose passions and affects which are different from each other. He believes that affects belong to feelings while passions belong to desires. On the other hand, affects belongs to lack of virtue while passions are properly evil. In his argument of the rising above the feelings Kant consider passions and affects in an individual as an illness of mind. Kant believes that passions and affects usually disrupt the common processes of choice (Gordon, 109). Therefore, individual feelings lead to preferences, which results into interests, choice and actions. According to him, an individual has certain feelings which give rise to pleasures, once a person makes his judgment according to his desires he make a choice. The chosen turns into an action when a person is motivated to act according to his choice (Kant & Reiss 57).
I would excuse an individual with certain kind of behavior because his actions are always guided by the choice made by him. The feeling of an individual to the environment he lives in determines his choice and actions in the future. I would criticize individual who refuse to excuse an individual for acting in a certain way because they fail to understand how nature determines who we are (Patrick, 15). Give the feelings and the circumstances which an individual goes through, his interests are altered forcing a person to make choice from which he desires to be appropriate with individual’s desires. The individual choice from a variety of choices becomes his actions at the end. In addition, the preference which cannot be controlled by individual’s reason is passion (Kant & Reiss 11). Therefore, affect is usually a feeling of displeasure or pleasure at a particular situation and does not result to reflection.
In conclusion, what distinguishes this case from the cases which I would not excuse a person is because there are specific differences between desire and feelings. According to Kant, affect is feeling through which individuals comes out of their composure while passion is desire that builds our composure. The differences between our feelings and desires are what determine our actions and morals. Passion and affects of an individual differentiate a person’s desire and passion. Hence, both passions and affects hinder our morality and interfere with the usual process of a rational choice for an individual. Affects interfere with choice and lead to lack of virtue while passions interfere with choice or desire of an individual.
Gordon, L. Kant: The Ethical Imperative: The Good Will And Respect For Others. London: Routledge., 2013. Print
Kant, Immanuel & Reiss, H.S. Kant: Political Writing. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Print
Patrick, R. Freedom and Anthropology in Kant’s Moral Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Print.