a) Explain Kant's moral argument. (25)
Kant’s moral argument focuses on the notion that God must exist to provide structure to the moral universe. Technically he did not believe that is was possible to prove the existence of God through rational or empirical means. It is important to outline two key ideas before explaining the details of the moral argument. These ideas centre around his assumptions of the universe: that the universe was fair; and that the world around us is fundamentally rational.
He begins with the unspoken assumption that the world is fair, owing to the dominance of the enlightenment belief that the universe was fundamentally knowable through reason. It is important to note that Kant began a new way of looking at knowledge. He believed that we could know the world through reason in a prior synthetic way. This was a complete change from how the world had been view previously and was known as Kant’s Copernican revolution. In essence Kant believed in two separate worlds of knowledge: noumenal and the phenomenal worlds. The noumenal world is the world as it truly is without being observed. It is fundamentally unknowable because the act of observation changes the very thing that we observe. It is as though human beings have a specific set of spectacles that cannot be taken off and like the proverbial rose tinted ones they change our perception of the world around us. This personalised view of the universe is the phenomenal world. However, what is key to explaining Kant’s moral argument is the fact that reason is the tool that can be used to know the true nature of the universe as it does not and cannot change.
Kant’s moral argument focuses on reason, good will, duty and the notion that we ought to strive towards moral perfection. It begins with the claim of two things that have him in awe: the starry heavens above; and the moral law within. This moral law for Kant was universal and objective. An example of this might be seen in the wide scale agreement that murder or torture is wrong. There seems to be agreement across cultures that certain actions are intrinsically wrong. This, for Kant, suggests that there is a universal objective moral law. He believed that the highest form of goodness was the notion of good will, namely that someone would freely choose to do good for no reward whatsoever, only for the sake of goodness.
Moreover, Kant believed that we have a moral duty to do such good things. He would argue that we have an awareness of what is right and wrong and that good will should make us act accordingly as reason dictates this to be the case. In a way it doesn’t make…