Kant and Owen’s inference of God as a necessity for Morality.
The focus of this research will be on one of the arguments for the existence of God – Morality. Morality is a phenomenon which concerns all of us. It’s complex nature baffles many and raises many questions. One profound question is ‘Where did it come from?’ Morality has been termed a lawgiver by some, due to it’s court-like appearance. Morality tells us what is wrong and what is right, what is good and what is evil. It tells us what to do. It is from morality that we have established our civil and social laws concerning matters from murder to stealing. It inspires our principles and our guilt. The question some have asked is ‘can morality support the existence of an almighty deity’? I will research into some of the arguments made in support and against such an important question. I will begin with Kant’s moral argument, followed by Owen’s moral argument. On the opposing side we’ll have Darwin’s theory of evolution and Freud’s psychoanalysis theory. Therefore, I will examine the opposition and propose a possible defence.
Kant’s Moral Argument:
Kant postulated a whole new idea of morality which revolutionised moral philosophy. It was based around the idea of duty to achieve the “highest good”. In his Critique of Practical Reason he says that we are under the influence of nature and therefore can never achieve happiness. He terms happiness to be a condition of a rational being in which everything goes according to their “wish and will”, therefore it can never be achieved. In Kant’s mind, the highest good is a state where we are all infinitely happy while infinitely virtuous. However, in our current existence we can be neither one nor the other. Therefore, we, on our own, cannot achieve this highest good. Even though, in Kant’s model, we cannot achieve the ‘highest good’, we say that we should strive for it. In other words, we should always work towards reaching this state of ultimate happiness. Now, “should” can be interpreted in a number of different ways. For example, we say we should always do our best, even though we know we cannot be perfect. In many cases we try to achieve an ideal which we know cannot be reached. Kant takes a turn from that and explains it in a different way – in everyday life we always use ‘should’ with something achievable. For example, a father does not tell his child “you should help your mother” if the said child is unable to do so. It would be simply illogical and unreasonable. This is where Kant says that we should seek to further the highest good “which therefore must at least be possible”. Following that logic, this concept must really be achievable; otherwise we wouldn’t say we ‘should’ strive for it. Then comes the problem with actually reaching that goal. If we agree that the highest good is real but we cannot reach it through our will, due to the influence of nature’s laws, then there has to be something independent of nature which can allow us to do just that. This intelligence, which is also the source of the moral law, is part of nature yet distinct from it. It would be the supreme cause behind everything. To put it another way, the proposition of a highest good is at the same time a proposition for a highest original good, i.e. God. What all this means is simply that the natural part of our dual nature is subject to the laws of the universe. These include laws such as entropy and thermodynamics, as some of the more well-known ones. However, these laws do not necessarily work towards our own benefit and happiness. Often they hinder us by limiting the scope of our abilities. The highest good, which we are entitled to do, requires that we are free of those laws, otherwise we can never succeed at reaching our goal. Therefore, Kant proposes that the only possible way for the highest good to be achieved is through the influence from a power which is sourced from outside the realms of our universe, beyond...
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