Kant’s view on the relationship between morality and politics
Kant’s view on the relationship between morality and politics
Kant states that only good will is considered good and without compromising in any aspect that enhances the goodness. He claims that upholding morality is our duty and that it should be considered and obligation without taking derailing exceptions. Kant suggested that a human being should be able to make the independent decision and only then they can be assumed to have achieved their full potential (Kant, Kleingeld, Waldron, Doyle & Wood, 2006). He uses the motto of enlightenment to express the application of person reasons to take specific actions in life. Human actions similarly to the natural occurrences are based on universal natural law. He states that a person achieves the highest level of self- actualization during his lifetime encounters. He suggests that for a person to be able to think and act independently, a rational pattern of thinking is required. He talks of categorical and hypothetical imperative persons (Formosa, 2008). For categorical imperatives, he says that to fulfill one’s needs they need to think in an unequivocal rational manner to attain what they what. He amplifies the idea of treating other persons as an end rather a mean to the desired end; the implication is that all human beings are entitled to universal human value.
Kant’s philosophy of public right, states that for people to coexist in the same environment harmoniously they must practice self-restriction on the magnitude of enjoying their rights.
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The self- restriction ensures that their space to accommodate other people’s rights enjoyment (Ellis, 2012). He states that all individuals have the freedom to pursue their joy in the best way possible keeping in mind that other persons need similar space as well. So the principle of public right is based on the rational that one’s choice does not affect the other persons negatively. Both choices should accommodate the other for a rightful coexistence. The public right idea goes back to promote morality in the society and is enhanced by the observance of the universal law of right.
On political philosophy, Kant suggests that politics should bend before right and not right bending before politics. This implies that politics should be conducted in full observance of moral standards, and morals should not be compromised during political issues. Kant philosophy is based on idealist tradition where moral comes before politics to safeguard the public right (Formosa, 2008). He suggests that politics that involves lies have no place in the society since they undermine moral standards. This conflicts with other philosophers like Machiavelli and Carl Schmitt with realism idea that proposes that politics comes before moral. In this context, a political lie is deemed to have the potential of saving the society and promoting public right. Kant is rigid with his moral stand, and a challenge arises when the situation at hand involves breaking a moral standard that will lead to achieving a legitimate political goal that will benefit the public (Ellis, 2012). For instance the church and the state are different entities with different goals although the church is pure to uphold morals and the state to ensure universal enjoyment right for all, they at times conflict. Kant says that it’s every person moral duty to tell the truth always for lies may land someone in a legal battle (Formosa, 2008). In one of the infamous narrations, he suggests that even a friend he has committed a crime and is being searched should be exposed to portray a moral step. He also controversially suggests that you can lie in situations where the lie is intended to uncover an immoral issue. He also suggests those human beings are entitled to a universal dignity and have rights. Lying is permissible also when protecting the rights and dignities of a given political group.
Kant’s political philosophy suggests that the public should be reluctant and patient, as they wait for politicians to take a step of introducing change in the society wherever they are ready. Kant makes citizens spectators in their country political affairs; the condition may enhance tyranny and poor governance (Formosa, 2008). To avoid exploitation of reluctant citizens by the political system, he recommended that government operate in a just manner to promote public right for morality to flourish. He claims that in a state where citizens are fighting the government, a violent atmosphere will precipitate which will potentially infringe other enjoyment of their rights (Ellis, 2012). He suggests three principles to promote good governance; he advocate for freedom of all citizens, equality, and independence of all citizens. He claims that a political system that has attained the three principles is autonomous which is a basis of the philosophy is morality.
In conclusion, political theory, moral philosophy and public right as illustrated by Immanuel Kant support each other. A nation that has good political philosophy promotes justice; justice ensures that one’s freedom is not infringed which adds up to a moral act. Critics of Kant’s ideas suggest that he was too rigid in his writing and his conformity to set political situation would lead to dictatorship. Kant does not ignore realists just like they don’t, and he gives a reactive counter response by saying they are not prudent since they permit lies based on selfish ambitions.
Ellis, E. (Ed.). (2012). Kant’s political theory: interpretations and applications. Penn State Press.Formosa, P. (2008). ” All Politics Must Bend Its Knee Before Right”: Kant on the Relation of Morals to Politics. Social Theory and Practice, 157-181.
Kant, I., Kleingeld, P., Waldron, J., Doyle, M. W., & Wood, A. W. (2006).Toward perpetual peace and other writings on politics, peace, and history. Yale University Press.
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