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Why should I be good?

Von: Eppur Si (eppursi@live.com) [Profil]
Datum: 04.03.2010 13:45
Message-ID: <46085db5-abb4-4f24-82ca-64501ee050c8@t17g2000prg.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.philosophy.kant
It seems to me that the most fundamental question that any philosophy
of ethics must answer is:  Why should I be good?  On this subject, I
don't see that Kant has any answer at all.  Quite the contrary, he
tries to debunk every answer to the question.

Enlightened self-interest?  Nonsense, Kant says.  Appeals to self-
interest are just another form of slavery to one's appetites, and do
not reflect free will.  Therefore, they are not moral at all.

Emotional reasons?  Avoiding guilt and shame, taking pride in self-
image, or feeling the urge to altruism?  As far as I can tell, Kant
says no to these as well.  Not universal enough, or something like
that.

Religious answers?  Apparently not.  Hope of reward in an afterlife,
or fear of punishment in one, is just self-interest again – mere
consequentialist reasoning.  Submission to the will of a higher moral
authority imposed by fiat?  Nope.  Not autonomous, so not moral.

Okay, I understand that Kant says that to be good is the only way to
be free, because to be good is to follow the duty one gives to one’s
self, derived from pure reason rather than driven by appetites and
desires imposed from without.  But, so what?  That does not tell me
why such freedom is desirable or why I should devote my life to it.
In fact, I don’t see why it is “freedom” at all, since pure reason
must inevitably lead me to the categorical imperative, which gives me
no actual choice in how I behave.

Thus, Kant tells me that the only real choice I have is between (1)
imposing on myself a duty to follow the categorical imperative, or (2)
fulfilling my desires, living an emotionally satisfied life, and (if
you believe it) reaching the Kingdom of Heaven.  Why, then, should I
choose the former?

Put differently, when Kant separates morality from consequences,
doesn’t he make morality inconsequential?

So, would one of you Kantians out there explain to me:  Why should I
be good?

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