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Kant and Locke - Essay Example

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This essay attempts to explore the manner in which both Locke and Kant address the concept of human freedom. Freedom is an important philosophical argument in the contemporary world…
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Kant and Locke
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Kant and Locke

The two are not only concerned with the individual, but also the manner in which the individual interacts within a group, and the consequent tensions that may occur out of these interactions. This essay attempts to explore the manner in which both Locke and Kant address the concept of human freedom. Freedom, or the manner in which individuals are in a position to act on their own accord, is an important philosophical argument in the contemporary world. History indicates that Kant supported multinational organizations and the republican government. He had a strong faith in the universality of humanity. However, Kant argued that the natural end that everybody seeks to accomplish is personal happiness (Kant 98). However, the concept that people act out their own accord does not communicate all that Kant meant. According to Kant (6), nothing in the world can be regarded as good without sufficient reasons. Kant argues that as humans, we cannot prove that freedom is something real within ourselves and in the human nature. In Kant`s thinking, human thinking revolves around a circle. People tend to assume that they are free so that they think the moral law as are meant for them and as a result, they must obey them. To Kant, freedom is a subjective state of the mind, a concept of reason, which may be difficult to comprehend in reality. Thus to Kant, human freedom is embedded in the term enlightenment which to him is a process through which people free themselves from immaturity state of which they themselves take the responsibility. Locke believed that every person has the ability to govern himself and that each individual is equal to every other person. He refers to this as state of nature where he says every man has total liberty to act as he wills, free from interference by any other person. To Locke, in the state of nature, the enjoyment of freedom is uncertain because it is invaded by others who act as they wish; making enjoyment of property a person has in this state very unsafe. This natural state eventually comes into a state of war where men turn against one another. When men are faced with this condition, they quit the state of nature which is full of dangers and put themselves in government for the protection of their property giving up their freedom to do as they wish. To this extent, it’s true to point out that everyman is naturally free and that nothing subjects him to any power or authority without his consent. Consequently, human freedom in a consented government is where the people trade off their liberty and power entrusting them to the government they form in exchange of protection of their property peace and safety. The issue of the relationship of the concepts of natural rights construal, and freedom and equality is at the centre of discussion today as it was many centuries ago. Whereas Kant’s concept of freedom and equality and the views of Locke’s natural rights are generally accepted as the epitome of liberalism, the equality concept in relation to liberty still remains a subject of discussion. Kant views individual freedom in the context of equal opportunity for all. He claims that a person has one natural right only, that is freedom - the state where one is actually independent from being influenced or constrained by another person’s choice. Because of this right an individual may not be coerced arbitrarily, and not because of property right that covers self-ownership. In addition, Kant suggests that the pursuit for equality is lawful when there is no interference with the enjoyment of individual autonomy. Kant holds that equality and freedom is a state where an individual enjoys liberty without necessarily interfering with another person’ ... Read More
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