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Philosophy of Kantianism Critique Essay

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Kantianism is a philosophy proposed by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kantianism is basically is a contemporary method for identifying and describing the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. The moral theory of Kantianism is still affluent in society. Kantianism makes use of an imperative to make the moral decision similar to the scientific decision so that it can objectively be analyzed for a reason.

The ethics in Kantianism are deontological in nature which is based on the duty of the person instead of the emotional feelings and the goals. The theory states that all actions that are performed are done so according to a preexistent maxim or principle. This principle is used to judge the moral worth and of the action. This is the categorical imperative that is employed in accessing the morality of things and determining the reasoning behind the actions. The test of the categorical imperative states that the individual has to be able to universalize the maxim and then perform the maxim in the world. If this is possible, then the action is said to be ethical and moral. If not, then it is considered to be immoral in nature. “Doing the right thing for the right reason is a very important issue to a Kantian. Kantian morality is not consequential, which means that actions are based on the motive/will of the person, and not on the consequences that come from the behavior. For Kant, there is only one reason to do the right thing, and that is just because it is right!” (Macarelli, 2006).

Kant employed rationality when describing the ultimate good. The good and bad that are depicted by Kant’s ethics are dependent on how they conform to reasons. “Kant says that we determine internally what is wrong or right. Through autonomy (self law), you use yourself as a guide. The individual determines her/his own behavior, rather than someone else dictating how you are supposed to behave or act.” (Macarelli, 2006) Kantianism also provides that the common-sense views of the person are normally rational in nature in terms of identifying the good and the bad. However, Kant also stated in his theory that any action that does not comply with the comparative imperative and common sense is irrational in nature. The main formulation role of Kantianism is that one should act only according to the moral rules of the society, which can be universalized. Aside from this, the person should also strive to always treat themselves as well as others as the end itself and not as a means o an end.

The criticism that is lodged against Kantianism confers mainly to three aspects, the inhumanity of Kant’s theory, the question of motivation, and the defeasibility of Duty. The main criticism that is pointed out against Kant and his theory is that his theory does not provide for morality in the natural sense. Kant actually starts off with moral intuitions of human beings and how to reach moral laws but concludes his argument on counter unintuitive conclusions. The traditional criticism here is that Kant is not sufficiently able to explain the force of reason that motivates humans for their behavior and decision-making.

The rebuttal of this criticism can be made by stating that in very general terms, it is possible to employ the ethics and moral theory of Kant by simply identification the motivation behind actions. If the motivation is to provide for ultimate goodness and happiness, then the action is considered good and moral. Else it is considered immoral and irrational in nature.


Keefer, “Three general criticisms of Kant’s Moral Theory”, Introduction to Philosophy, 2004.

Maccarelli, S., “”. Web.

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