Essay about Kant v

Submitted By mgonzales01
Words: 1390
Pages: 6

Created by: Madison Gonzales

Madison Gonzales
Philosophy 101W
Patti Sayre
Paper 4—Smith vs. Kant
December 8, 2014

After reading both Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant I realized how different philosopher’s views are from each other. Understanding both views gave me insight on how I would also want others to comprehend the world. In Adam Smith’s, Theory of Moral Sentiments, he argues that sympathy is the basis of moral virtue. Smith believes that morality is about sympathizing with others with the hopes that they will then, in return, sympathize with us. This sympathy is not only about being there for someone when a relative passes away, but it is also about encouraging them and praising them for things they do right. The morality that Smith discusses is about approval and reward. In his eyes, we are always searching for praise from those around us. In order to gain this approval and reward we must be amiable: open to others, calm and gentle. We must also be respectable with self-control so that we do not make others feel bad if they did not achieve something that someone else has. He says, “to approve of another man’s opinions is to adopt those opinions, and to adopt them is to approve of them” (I.I.21). Smith’s views are a cycle of performing actions, waiting for approval or disapproval from the “opinions” of others, and knowing whether or not to do them again. The idea of putting ourselves in other people’s shoes comes from Smith’s views. By doing so, we will be able to relate more to those whom with we are sympathizing. However, this can cause us to only sympathize with others because it is what we are told to do, not because we actually care. Smith says, “sympathy, therefore, does not arise so much from the view of the passion, as from that of the situation, which it excites” (I.I.10). This means that we may not feel “passion[ate]” enough about someone’s “situation” to genuinely sympathize with them but we feel we have to sympathize with them because that is was is morally right. If we do not sympathize with them, or are not sympathized with back, we could feel judged by others for not doing what is right. Smith believes that judgment based off of pursuing a goal is good, because it shows that a person is striving for something. His philosophy is about the development of virtues and wanting something in return. As children we look for praise from our elders because we are learning what is and what is not morally acceptable. As we develop through our adolescent years we should follow what Smith is saying until we learn what it really means to have moral knowledge. Immanuel Kant, on the other hand, has opposite views from Smith. Kant believes that, in order to be morally right, we must obey, what he calls, the laws of freedom, or, the moral law. He does not believe that morality is based on experience, but it is based on pure reason. Since everyone experiences things differently, we cannot rely on experience to define how life ought to be lived. Kant believes that attaining the gifts of fortune, such as wealth and power are the desire for which is derived from experience, can cause someone to be likeable, but does not guarantee that they will be a morally good person, for the gifts of fortune can be used without good will. Although wealth and power may make us happy for a while, in the end, wealth and power will not be there and our happiness will be gone. We should strive for the good that we will be given in the end, which is true happiness. He says that, “a good will is good because of what it effects or accomplishes…it is good only through its willing, i.e., it is good in itself” (7). Kant means that we should do what is good for others because that is what is morally right. Unlike Smith, Kant does not look for a reward in his moral actions. Even though we may not benefit from the situation, we should take satisfaction in knowing that what we are doing for others is what morality wants us to do. When we…