Hume Vs. Kant
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Hume vs. Kant
Many different philosophers have their own way of looking at not only the world, but society as a whole. This is clearly seen with the two philosophers Kant and Hume. Though totally different styles of philosophizing and looking at an ethical theory, it is not to say that ones theory is better or more justified than the other. It is perhaps a different point of view or another opinion to take in. We must not directly rule out either Hume or Kant because both of their ethical theories have been approved by numerous philosophers and scholars alike. Do not be mistaken for you can indeed defend one more than the other, it is just an understanding that theories are what people believe and for these two philosophers their theories have a very distinct difference in morality.
Humes theories may be considered by some not really philosophical theories at all. It is to say that he is not searching for that philosophical life that is seen in a Plato, or Augustine. His ideas are from the foundation of America. He believes that capitalism promotes prosperity for people, and that only science and math is the realm for reason. To discuss Humes ethical theory you have to look at the central theme, which are feelings. Humes ethical theory says that moral judgments are made on feelings as oppose to reason. Humes feelings are based upon the belief that people make moral judgments because it is useful to society. He uses the examples of benevolence and justice to support this idea. Benevolence leads to happiness in society, which is the main basis for moral approval. Justice, for Hume, is regarded as good because again it is useful to society. He says that justice would not exist if everybody was not selfish, and one of its main uses is to protect private property. Justice for Hume is a very business oriented type of justice in which a transaction that is made must be suitable for both parties. If humans were not selfish than justice would not even come to mind in these types of situations because the transaction would be totally dominated by one individual, and that would not be justice.
Humes view poses the question, which is better social peace or economic prosperity? Hume states that human beings are an animal whose life consists of worldly pleasures, and this is what leads them to a happy life. Again we see a clear contradiction to what “traditional” philosophers believe to be a happy life. As you can see Hume leaves out the spiritual, reasoning, and thinking part of human nature. Leaving all these factors out he comes up with his contributions to the well being of society. He believes that chastity, confidentiality, avoiding gossip, avoiding spying, being well mannered, and loyal are what can lead you to becoming prosperous. Hume looks at this from being prosperous only from a business-orientated point of view. People do like to become prosperous and have economic growth, but is that all that matters to us as humans? For Hume these feelings are justified because he says that we naturally care about other people and if we do not suffer from something we have a natural inclination to help others out. Hume finally comes a conclusion to his ethical theory in which he states that there are only four reasons in which to do morally good: useful to society, useful to oneself, agreeable to oneself, agreeable to others. Actions that are morally good are categorized into one of these four categories. These actions must be made with sentiment or feeling over reason, for Hume states man is a creature with feelings and reason lets us figure that out.
Kant takes a different approach in his ethical theory and the understanding of morality and what is morally good. For Kant moral goodness is defined as goodwill, and that we as humans have a moral obligation to