Intro to Philosophy
September 21, 2012
I. 1a) Free will is incorporated in Kantianism as moral action is based on rationality. Rational will is significant in this theory since it provides human beings with the freedom to make informed decisions. Kant stresses the dignity of rationalism, implying that human beings have the right to view themselves as having absolute worth which does not change regarding the circumstances. Autonomy plays an important role in the respect of rationality as it permits self-governing and free choice. 1b) Free will is precisely expressed in Kant’s doctrine due to emphasis on the importance of rationality. Being rational means that an individual is being autonomous as one has the freedom to make their own decisions. In short, Kant’s principle stresses the importance of human beings having the right of rational will and making informed decisions. 2a) Kantianism is also known as deontology or duty base. Kant’s doctrine stresses that it is our duty as human beings to respect each other’s rational dignity. Although Kant’s doctrine believes in freedom, it also emphasizes the thought that no human being should ever be treated “as means to an end” (Rauhut 224). Furthermore, the right thing to do may not be what pleases an individual but should respect others’ autonomy, since every human being deserves to have the right of freedom. 2b) It is irrational to simply do as one desires without the consideration of others, regardless of the consequences. If one human being’s freedom is not being respected, then Kant’s theory cannot be successful. Being rational grants freedom to a human being as it gives an individual the power to choose and make informed decisions. If one abuses one’s rationality by making decisions strictly for one’s own pleasures, then one is being irrational, as one is being inconsiderate of the rights of others. Rational dignity must be respected, as Kant’s principle is based on free will, which would be defeated if one makes decisions without the consideration of the population. 2c) An example would be if a person deliberately decides to lie to their friend in order to influence their actions. This choice would be irrational as lying takes away an individual’s freedom to make rational, informed decisions. Although lying may benefit one, it is wrong, since it involves manipulating another human being.
II. 1a) Seeking what is advantageous conflicts with seeking rational freedom as considering only what is advantageous shows one is more concerned with oneself rather than the respect of others’ free will. Although seeking what is advantageous can be beneficial, as it may achieve happiness, actions beneficial to oneself may not respect others’ rational dignity. Overall, seeking what is advantageous is contrary to seeking rational freedom and could deprive others of the right to choose and make informed decisions. 1b) For instance, an individual may spend their spare time working overtime in order to make extra money so that they can go on a tropical vacation, but are short $100 for the payment and take the money from their grandmother’s savings when she is not home. Even if the person plans on repaying their grandmother they are still taking away her rational freedom since they took the money behind her back. This person is seeking advantage, as they are using their grandmother’s savings purely for themselves. If one were seeking rationality one would ask one’s grandmother if one could borrow $100 instead of treating her as if she was a means to an end.
III. 1a) Utilitarians think that happiness is pleasure, as they believe it “is the ultimate moral good”. They believe that everyone’s personal desires, which can cause pleasant sensations, are driven by the goal of happiness (Rauhut 211). 1b) An example that happiness is pleasure would be going to the beach with a good friend. Not only