This theory was Immanuel Kant’s first contribution in philosophy. Kant made a great significance in his debut since he disagreed with theories generated by renowned philosophers like Aristotle. This theory was a unique theory that explained a new method of analyzing morals and responsibilities. Kant’s theory works from down the common sense then up to the laws that govern our deeds (Alison, 67). The theory tends to claim that acting right does not require rewards as it is everyone’s duty to do what’s right or what or what is required by law.
Kant’s theory is different from Aristotle’s philosophies which suggest that acting responsibly requires a fair share of acknowledgment. Why should someone be given incentives for acting right? If someone does that right thing, who gains from these responsible actions? These are the questions that support the grounding of metaphysics. The theory claims that by doing right, individuals gain more responsibility for their actions and this is more that being given incentives. For instance, if an individual plans to commit suicide, this is wrong. If the individual decides not to commit suicide then it would be more advantageous to the particular person and not to the whole society (Denis, 23). For this reason the individual is not entitled to any rewards or incentives of doing the right thing.
Aristotle tries to prove that the purpose of reason is to have happiness and welfare. Kant’s theories disagree with that as they claim the purpose for reason is to carry out the duty and requirements of each individual. Every purpose of reasoning should be in respect to duty (Alison, 37). Reason should govern people deeds to be in line with duties and the law. To further explain this philosophy, Kant gave an example of tax payers. It may be hard to find an individual with the passion of paying taxes. Given the option many people would evade taxes. However, this is not possible as people are afraid of the penalties for evading taxes. This is an example of duty and reasoning carried out in respect of the law. Different from Aristotle claims that reason are aimed at achieving happiness, there is no happiness in paying taxes but just reason in respect of duty.
However, Kant’s argument is not satisfactory. With his claims it obviously means that people require the law to govern the actions. This means that laws in the society are responsible for all the good deeds in society. This debatable as many philosophers have argued that every person has that sense of responsibility that governs the way he acts and reasons. For instance, if a person decides to commit suicide not even the respect of duty can stop them from committing the act. The individual need more that just respect for the law in order to turn back from the decision to commit suicide.
At this juncture, Aristotle’s claim that reason is too to achieve happiness is more applicable. The influence of the law to reason cannot be undermined but the human psychology and motive matter most when it comes to decision making (Denis, 123). It would be correct to come up with the assumption that happiness could be achieved by reason. The respect to duty as argued by Kant makes people make decisions that are in respect to duty but not give them happiness.
Alison, Henry. Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary. New York: Oxford University Press. 2011. Print.
Denis, Lara. Immanuel Kant: Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Peterborough: Broadview Press. 2005. Print.