Introduction: What is the moral argument?
- show existence of God through sense of morality
- existence of morality= existence of God
- there is a clear moral law suggesting there must be a source of this moral law which is God
- Hnery Newman also contributed
- Corinthians 'conscience is in the heart of all men'
1 of 9
Introduction to Kants Moral Argument
- most famous argument part of his ethical theory
- set out in his book 'Critique to Practical Reason'
- a posteriori
- claims humans are rational, autonomous, moral-decision makers
- morality= doing one's moral duty
- Kant rejects that Gods commands are the basis of morality - reason= basis of morality
- morality can be derived from rationality - rationality is universal therefore morality is too
2 of 9
- rejects arguments that prove God's existence
- God's existence is a matter beyond human knowledge - rejects cosmological or design argument
- 'It is morally necessary to assume the existence of God"
3 of 9
'God as a postulate of Pure Reason'
- by rational moral reasoning we have to put forward the idea that God exists as an explanation of morality
- 'postulate' means something which is thought of and put forward to solve a problem
- Kant rejects pure reason and develops practical reason - coomon sense approach based on reflections
- to explain morality you have to include the belief in God
- explains why being moral is also being rational, Morality is reason made practical
- 3 postulates of practical reason ; we are immortal (recieve SB life after death), God exists and we are free beings
4 of 9
- highest good is the achievement of moral goodness and happiness together
- acting in accordance to good will is doing an action because it is the right thing to do and it achieves summum bonum
- this is the Categorical Imperative
- duty is something you should do because CI states you 'ought to do'
- if your action is virtuous it should lead to happeness and fulfilment
- avaliable in the afterlife and awarded by God by acting out of duty
- necessary reward otherwise it wouldnt be rational to act morally
- EXAMPLE: Hitler did terrible things but killed himself before punishment, while morallly good actions go unrewarded and unnoticed such as heroes dying in war - it ensures justice
- Is Summum bonum actucally acheiveable? - Mackie has discussed this
- can you be good without believing in God?
5 of 9
Autonomy of morality
- action is only moral if chosen freely
- moral if you choose to do it
- humans are autonomous decision makers
- rejects that God is a divine law giver who gives orders for teh fear of punishment
- what if you are incapable of making moral decisions freely?
6 of 9
Doing your duty
- univeral basis of morality - moral duties are the same universally
- can be worked out thorugh reason
- all humans impose moral duties on themselves
- intrinsically good reason for moral action is good will
- do an action because it is good in itself- doesnt look at consequences
- duty can lead to moral goodness and happiness
- duty not emotion - emotional responses vary, but morlaity needs to be universal - Plato has argued this
7 of 9
- 'two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me'
- 'It is morally necessary to assume the existsnece of God'
8 of 9
- Moral action is about doing one's duty, reason to do one's duty is to achieve the Summum Bonum.
- Sometimes there is too much evil in the world to achieve summum bonum even if you have followed your duty
- highest good must be achievable; otherwise moral goodness is pointless
- what could make the highest good acheivable?
- Kant's moral argument is only convincing if you are already a believer in God
- Wont persuade you to believe in God - suggested by Mackie and Brain Davies
- aiming for summum bonum doesnt make it achievable
- psychoanalysis raises questions about the the origins of our moral values
9 of 9