Kant: An Act Of Moral Worth Essay, Research Paper
Jill had been driving down a deserted road when her tire became flat. With no one around for miles she struggled with changing the tire when Jack happened to be driving by and stopped to give her a hand. How and why is this an act of genuine moral worth?
When the opportunity arises to be helpful without recognition or to do a good deed when one is presented without thinking about it, is to perform an act of duty with moral worth. Jack?s act was done for the ?right? reasons to be considered a moral act. Kant would classify Jack?s act as a categorical imperative, meaning his act delivers a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. Before Jack pulled over, he may have asked himself if he was willing to universalize the act of helping another when they are in need. In this case, this act seems to be one that could be a universal law, so it therefore must be moral. In terms of this particular scenario, it would have been wrong for Jack not to help Jill when there was no one else around to help. He had a sense of duty to help the woman.
Jack avoided acting out of the hypothetical imperative because he had no ulterior motives in helping Jill. There are a few different ways Jack could have acted in accordance with duty, but not out of the sake of duty. If Jack had the motive of self-interest because he finds joy in helping others, he would be acting out of the pleasure that it gives him to do so. Jack only helped Jill because in the end he is happy because Jill is happy. Meaning he only did the act to make himself happy. In this case, Jack?s action would have no true moral worth. Another example of something Jack could have done to act in accordance with duty would have been to use helping Jill as a means to look like a better person. If he only helped Jill to brag about what a helpful, wonderful man he was, then this act would also have no moral worth. These are a few pitfalls Jack could have fallen into if he were not acting according to moral law.
According to Kant?s philosophy, all of our actions of any sort must have moral worth and should be performed upon a sense of duty. It is a good thing Jack had the sense of duty within him or else Jill could have been in for some big trouble!
Grounding for the metaphysics of morals, Kant