Responding to peers

Peer Responses

Try to attempt to take the conversation further by examining their claims or arguments in more depth or responding to the posts that they make to you.  Keep the discussion on target and try to analyze things in as much detail as you can.

Peer 1

 There is people who give money to charity with the only intention of deducting it from their taxes so at the end it’s for their benefit. The “right action “ here is donating the money to charity, however since it’s only motivation is tax reduction, the action is not done out of goodwill. The article states Kant, (2008) it seems that without a good will one can’t even be worthy of being happy. Good intention does not require qualification, it comes innately. You can do the right thing it doesn’t mean it’s the right intention. Kant is right just because someone does a good deed it doesn’t mean that the intention is focused on someone other than themselves. 

Peer 2

I will have to admit that I do agree with Kant in reference to people doing a good deed or good will is not all just that “A Good Will”  There is always some type of kickback to doing a good will or offering a great gesture.  For example if I give to a charity it is a good will however the kickback would be a tax break.  Another example of a good will would be given money to a stranger on the street.  You might say there is no kickback to that, but contrary to what you may believe the kickback is making yourself feel worthy of a good person and therefore the kickback is feeling good about yourself.   Even children we might say I give with no thougts of receiving anything back.  Once again a parent gives unconditionally to her children, however there is kickback there as well which is wanting our kids to feel love and them to love us for the things that we do for them.  I know my last sentence is very debatable, but if you look at things from Kant’s perspective you can see where he is coming from.

Peer 3

Kant holds that we can do the “right action” but not out of a good will, and that only actions done from a good will are morally praiseworthy. Do you agree with Kant?

According to Instructor Larson (2017), Kant states that “A good will acts in accordance with the rules of morality regardless of consequences and that these rules are what comes from the “categorical imperative” or a set of moral rules (Instructor Guidance).  A categorical imperative is a set of rules that one must follow in order to be considered a moral person and there are no exceptions to the rule.  When a moral act is done out of goodness of the heart and not because of what one will get out of it (reward), it should be recognized and praised as a “good will”. When there are actions done for the good of oneself with only the thought of personal gain then that is not a moral act.  It is only an act that looks to be good on the outside, but has an underlying motive.  A “good will” should be done because you want to do it because you feel that it is right, without regard for what you will get out of it.  It is something done from the heart and comes from inside of you, It is not done because you want to be recognized for doing good or because you are obligated to help one another.  However, sometimes moral rules are bent, but should still be rewarded; as in the case of a soldier having to decide whether to kill an enemy to save his life or the life of his buddy.  This is definitely praiseworthy, but may not be considered a good will.  Where one runs into trouble and a conflict can arise is when your action that may be a moral utilitarian act without cause for consequence conflicts with your sense of moral values or laws, like one should not kill.  This is something that soldiers in battle face on a daily basis.  The split second decision of having to kill an enemy to save his battalion or the life of another soldier comes with a second guess decision of killing is wrong.  However, they are there to do a job and need to follow a set of commands handed down to them.  This is the idea of doing a “right action” to save lies but not out of a “good will”.  In this respect saving the lives of your buddies or a country, even though it may not be a “good will” should be praised.  Therefore, I partially agree with Kant in that only actions done from a good will are morally praiseworthy.

Provide an example (real or made up) of someone doing a good thing but out of a motive other than that of a good will, and give reasons for why you think Kant is right, or why you think Kant is wrong that this action lacks moral value.

In my classroom, I have a behavior chart and a kindness tree.  I want to instill in my students that they should be kind to one another because it makes them feel good inside, not because you will be clipped up and one step closer to getting a prize from the treasure box.  I tell them that if I see them doing an act of kindness just because, I will clip them up and they will get a leaf on the kindness tree; however, if they tell me that they did a good act just to get a clip up, that seems that you are doing the kind act just because of the reward.  I want them to try to understand the difference between doing a kind act because it is the right thing to do and not for what you can get out of it.  Kant states that “it would always be wrong to treat people as objects, or as a way of achieving some goal, or in another way that does not show respect” (Mosser, 2013, sect. 6.1).  In this regard I think that Kant is right.

Discuss the importance of the will and how one can attempt to create a good will.

A good will is definitely important in ethical action because it is the basis for morals and ethics.  Having a given set of laws that define the good will is also important.  That is not to say that a good will can be done that is outside of the categorical imperative.  A kind moral act even one as small as having someone go in front of you at the cashier line, can be an act of kindness, but may not qualify as a categorical imperative.  Again if a good deed feels right to you inside, then it should be done without any thought of a reward. 

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