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Kant and Hobbes Comparison - Essay Example

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Kant and Hobbes Comparison

Both philosophers believe in pragmatism and ethics. But Kant’s practical philosophy is concerned with the unwritten rules that govern human action while Hobbes believes that human actions are directed towards self-interest based on ethical egoism. With this, Hobbes argues that since humans tend to do things based on their self-interest, conflicts may arise when the interest of one overlaps with another or is in opposition to another. This can only be solved if humans allow others to pursue their own self-interest by doing things that will not hamper another’s pursuance of self-interest. That is the only way to resolve the conflict between human actions. Hobbes also argues that the pursuit of self-interest does not mean doing the good thing rather it is maximizing one’s chance to survive or to be happy. This is very different from Kant’s wherein his pursuit of self-interest is based upon what is right, not merely to be happy or to survive. Thus, he pursues the idea of good will. The idea of good will is basically doing what is morally right, so if an action requires injustice or cruelty, then it should be set aside as it is not morally right. Example, if doing a courageous act such as facing a battle in war and the war affects innocent people, then it is not morally right to do so. ....
Answering to an invitation, whether we say yes or no, is an imperative of etiquette. It is unethical not to bother answering to an invitation when we look into etiquette. Hobbes’ morality is formed from human nature and empirical conditions rather than categorical imperatives. Kant argues against this as he believes that morality is not pursuance of self-interest rather it is to secure human freedom and equality. Hobbes’ morality is man-made and not God-given. Humans make decisions based on human nature, based on one’s self-interest or the preservation of one’s life, dignity or freedom. On the other hand, Kant’s morality is God-given as it is based solely on moral principles, of doing morally right things and not doing those that opposes good will. Hobbes uses instrumental reason while Kant uses pure practical reason. Kant believes that one’s actions are based on an autonomous will instead of being a slave to one’s passions, as Hobbes’ morality is based upon. For example self-preservation for Kant is a duty, a moral good based on Christian ethics, thus, saying that suicide is a sin. Hobbes will interpret suicide as an immoral thing to do because it does not in any way pursue self-interest to be happy or to survive. This shows that Hobbes sees self-preservation not as a duty rather it is part of the pursuit to survive and to gain happiness and contentment. Let’s take another example in stealing. Stealing, for Kant, is wrong because it is a sin based on Christian ethics, because of categorical imperatives wherein it is immoral because it is not morally right to do so. On the other hand, Hobbes finds stealing as an opposition to the social contract, that is, it steps on another’s pursuit to self-interest, which is protection of one’s ...Show more

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Both philosophers believe in pragmatism and ethics. But Kant’s practical philosophy is concerned with the unwritten rules that govern human action while Hobbes believes that human actions are directed towards self-interest based on ethical egoism…
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Kant and Hobbes Comparison essay example
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