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A psychology philosopher named Immanuel Kant projected the voice of reason and rationality as the major motivating factors when it came to the issue of moral obligation. Hutcheson on the other hand, based the issue of morality on individual obligation and benevolence, positing that the reasons for benevolent acts did not matter after all (Stern 32). This paper presents Kant’s argument of moral obligation, how Hutcheson would have argued in response to Kant’s claim’s, and finally evaluating the two authors based on their explanations to see who between them presents a more reasonable argument. According to Stern, Kant’s principle of moral principles and obligations are arguably on of the finest of ethical theories as stipulated in the deontological theory (36). In his argument, Kant asserts that human beings are uniquely and essentially rational beings meaning that every individual uses the power of reason to make decisions on the appropriate actions to take. He emphasizes the need to have good will beforehand in order to conceive and achieve all the essential things in life. Timmons state in this regard, that the logic would play an important role in determining whether the perceived act will bring any good thing without ‘qualification’ (206). A good thing without qualification would only have two extremities including the good and the bad and nothing in between. Therefore, individuals use their reasoning capacity to identify the acts with good consequences. While individuals accomplish their desires out of good will, it is equally important to note that good will is the only virtue that has the aspect of universal absolute good (Timmons 207). This means that every good thing including wealth, honor, and riches may turn to be bad things in the end if individuals harbor ill wills for accomplishing their missions. However, people can perpetuate the good things if they have good intentions and wills making their deeds good in universal terms. In this sense, rationality comes into play in the sense that people who have good intentions motivated by their positive reasoning will always accomplish good things in the society (Stern 45). While happiness may derive from a particular action does not accentuate the moral obligation of that action, as the idea of happiness is too empirical and indefinite to serve as a concept for moral obligation (Timmons 208). It is indefinite because people differ in tastes, preference, and enjoyments, while it is empirical in the sense that people actually understand that by experience, they can make decisions that bring them happiness. In revisit of the concept of good will, people act because they strongly believe that they have a moral duty or they are morally obliged to perform certain tasks. The consequences in this case according to Stern, do not play an important role in deciding to engage in such deeds (Stern 62). Individual inclination principles on the other hand, influence our actions in that reason recognizes our principles that in turn determine our motive in the quest of accomplishing our moral duty. This simply means that reason is the sole determinant of moral responsibility as Kant describes an individual will that derives from their principles play an essential role in materializing their moral obligation (Zakai 316). Although other factors such as consequence and happiness may have some impact on the moral duty of an individual, their main motivating factor for ...Show more


Name Instructor Course Date Moral obligation The issue of morality has sparked controversies considering the fact that various philosophers such as Kant and Hutcheson have given it different perspectives where the former insists that it is a function of rationality while the latter emphasizing on the role of obligation in morality…
Author : tonyorn
Critical Essay essay example
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