Reason Is The Basis Of Morality In Human’s Action
What is morality? Is morality the consequence of your actions or the reason behind them?
If you ask Kant, he believes that because all humans have reason we all are inadvertently moral.
I would argue that morality is the reasoning behind a human’s action rather than the action itself. Therefore, all humans have morality, but we all have different standards of morality. This could include what the right thing to do is, what it means to be good, and how this helps society function. I believe that we are moral, and should be moral, because we all have the ability to be a good person, and by being a good means having unselfish motives behind actions.
To be moral can mean many things to different people. Some can choose to focus on how morality can lead to being a good person, while others believe that morality focuses on making the right decision. Being a good person and making the right decision, however, don’t always coincide. Being a good person can mean you support others unconditionally, whether or not that means you are making the just decision. For example, if a village wants to kill a nomad simply because they are a nomad, then they have no real reasoning on killing this person except for that fact. This does not make the decision on killing him just, for this nomad did nothing to disrupt peace in this village, or harm any villager. By agreeing to kill the nomad you are pleasing the village, which can make you a good person in their eyes because you are not controversial. However, this is not the right thing to do, because you are killing an innocent human. This is where those two points can clash, being good and doing the right thing don’t have the same meaning. Doing the right thing means putting aside your ultimate feelings aside and doing something that benefits the bigger picture, whether that be sparing the life of an innocent person, or doing something that benefits the greater good of society.
Immanuel Kant believes that morally good actions have special value, but what does he mean by morally good action? Kant defines being morally good as being an action that you do based on the maxim for why it is done, it is good in itself. Kant believes that we are moral because we all have reason, and because we have reason we, therefore, have a basis for morality. Now, he is not saying that all reason serves a greater purpose, there are some action that is motivated with self-interest. For example, A worker in a company working harder and improving the overall quality of the job production and the outcome of those goods, their goal was to help the company prosper and help the community, however, they benefitted from the outcome with possibly a pay raise. While the action was done with the intent for good, there was still a bit of self- interest that was gained from that good. Kant believes that morally good deeds are one that you don’t benefit directly from the action itself, but this can be hard to come by as most actions have some form of self-interest. Whether that be physically, financial benefits, or because it makes you feel good. I agree with Kant when he states that the reason behind our actions ultimately determine our genuine morality.
Kant’s view on morality, mirrors much of my own view. I believe that we should be moral because it makes us a good person. Being good means to do something, or say something, because it is good within itself. There are no ulterior motives, or benefits directly meant to be gained. Rather, being moral counts, based on what our inner principles are in our actions, not the action itself. For me, my view on why we should be moral resides in how I was taught to treat others growing up. Treating other people with respect and kindness, and doing a good deed all for the sake of being nice and good is how I know to be a good person. I would also define being a good person as someone whose intentions look towards the greater good of society, rather than looking towards self-interest. Once societies need are met, then it’s only natural that your own needs too will be met because you are a part of society. By sacrificing one good or need in order to help society function and be just for all, that makes you a good person because you’re giving up what you need in order to look out for others. You receive the benefits of this from society, however, you are not seeking out this good for yourself, rather society.
Kant believes that we are all moral because we have reason, and that in itself is the basis of morality. While I agree with Kant that we all have reason, and our reasoning behind our actions, whether that be self-interest or universally good, determines our morality, I also believe that being a good person makes you moral. We as human beings all have the ability to be good people, make the right decisions, and function collectively for the greater good of society. By respecting others, being kind, and doing something in order to serve someone else rather than yourself, you are moral. This justifies why we should be moral, and more specifically the steps I look towards in determining my morality, and why I, personally, should strive to be moral.