Most philosopher believe that human nature is a mix of good and evil which Kant does not have the same opinion as the other philosophers as he rejects this theory that human nature is a mix of good and evil. A human being is good when he does what is expected of him the moral principles and evil when he goes against the norms that is being immoral. So being good or evil depends on what society one lives and what traditions are being followed within that society setting.
Kant (1999) has argued that, every time a human being acts freely in that whatever he does is from within him, his actions will be governed by his heart then a law or general rule is generated inside that person. This is what Kant as referred to as a maxim. This maxim ensures that impulses do not directly dictate ones behavior in whatever he undertakes. According to Kant, he argues that we need power to ratify or reject out desires when one is allowed to act freely. Without such powers, one can do things which are not generally accepted by the society but with such power which keep on reminding him whenever he deviates from the norm. Hence the primary function of the maxim is to allow one to accept or reject a given desire. So if our desires overwhelm us and we have no veto power, then one cannot say that he truly acted freely.
What does Kant thinks of the human being?
Human being is a complex being which is hard to explain without any doubt that it is good or evil. This complexity in nature of human nature has led to philosophers have different ways to look at this been. Some try to explain the human nature on the grounds that they are both good and evil, others believe that human beings are either good or evils and others believe that the human nature is partly good and partly evil.
Kant believes that moral constitutions are weak in nature and allows their desires to rules over them. This weakness can be best understood under the following ways. First, human beings are frail which means that they do not often act in ways that we know to be morally upright. The second thing about human beings according to Kant is that human beings are impure, that is they do act morally only when the outcome will be of beneficial to them. This means that human beings put their interests first than acting morally. Finally human beings are depraved in that they do something which is opposite of what they know to be right. In each of the above cases, our moral constitution freely chooses the immoral alternatives. This is a bad choice according to Kant since he believes that there is an influence from our physical or psychological needs because we do ignore what we know is morally right (Kant, 1999).
What are Kant's main arguments?
Kant has many arguments about morality and immorality, the evil and good, influence of religion on one’s life. This argument can be discussed under the following subheadings:
Tension between morality and religion
Kant does recognize that there are many tensions between religious traditions and moral principle (Kant, 1999). Though most religions are influenced by their history, Kant believes that there is only one universal moral law and that one can rely on his own instincts to determine that moral law. This means that one does not rely on religious organizations to explain to him the moral laws. This reliance on other people’s interpretation about the moral laws has led to much confusion since different people translate or understand the moral laws differently. It is therefore better for one to trust his instincts than having to work on other people perception which might be biased since one cannot be able to ascertain the state of the mind of the one translating the moral laws to others. Also Kant believes that there is conflict between religious practices and the moral principles (Kant, 1999).
Kant (1999), argues that it is very dangerous for an individual to simultaneously adhere to stringent requirements of a given church and inhibit hatred or jealousy. This is a bad show to others who monitors the way you behave in your Christian life and living in the society. In wrong doing will lead to the society criticizing the whole church has having failed to lead its followers in a moral life and a Christian way. Kant opposes the idea or traditions that say that God’s grace will save you. Lastly, some religious traditions promote the idea that incantations endear one to God. The problem here is that people will be moral not because it is the right thing but because it is a daily chore designed to appease God.
Struggles between good and evil
This difference in struggle between good and evil is a struggle between immoral incentives and moral principles. This argument says that in order to be good, we must consciously develop a virtuous disposition and engage in combating the evil.
Finally, Kant explains the features of an ideal local community are the one which promotes ethical laws and coercive political laws. According to Kant (1999), the best way to promote ethical laws is through the “invisible church”. This is a church which does not exist in the traditional sense and it is an ideal that actual churches should try to emulate.