Immanuel Kant is well known for his development of moral philosophy, particularly about his conception of reason. His scope in practical affairs goes beyond Hume’s philosophy, which is governed mainly by passion. David Hume argued that an individual’s “sentiments and affections” not reason, is what leads us to our actions. In other words someone may act in a certain manner hoping that that is a moral act but to another different person it is absolutely immoral this is because people’s affection on a given phenomena varies. Hence, according to Hume what is right in certain person may be wrong to another person. In contrast to David Hume , Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of categorical imperative argued that individual are able to make decision free from outside forces like affections, owns desires and happiness.
Kant is not concerned about the consequences of whether your actions bring happiness or not. According to Kant one’s motive keeps changing hence, it is impossible to have universal morals. They are never absolute or constant feelings, emotions, or desires. He further clarifies the fact that the answer to question why there is so much violence and hate in the world is because people’s incentives are based on desires and self-interest and not the good will. So therefore, inclinations cannot be relied on for making moral decision. Kant points out that a good will must be good in itself and not in virtue of its relationship to other things such as agent’s own happiness or overall welfare. As stated earlier we found that what makes someone decide on a certain action is whether the outcome will bring happiness or overall welfare.
In summary therefore we have seen how these philosophers differ in their cause-effect approach to morality and that according to Hume it is the state of the outcome that will make someone act in a certain manner and that to that person his or her action would be moral. On the other hand, Kant beliefs that an action, which is moral, must be motivated by thought of duty and not the pleasures.
Banham. G. (2003). Kant’s practical philosophy: from critique to doctrine. Palgrave MacMillan,
Harold. W. (1999). Routledge Philosophy guidebook to Hume on knowledge. Routledge press