Duty point up what man should do in respect for moral law. Moral depicts our knowledge to distinguish between good and evil and the confidence that we ought to do what is good. Man is a unique creature because of duty unlike the animals. The writing entails the analysis the moral duty of man. This is achieved by a close scrutiny of the ideas of Kant and Silentio on the subject before a conclusion is made.
Views of Kant on Moral Duty of Man
Kant argues that duty is hidden in the outward aspects of action. Every time people act, they should do so in principle and through emotions. That is to say that action of duty should consider the final effect. He argues that duty should be an action of good morals and that its motive should be that of good will. Kant says that our actions should be of high respect to the level that they could become universal laws. In other words, the writer purports that our actions should reflect that of virtue.
He also reason that moral obligation rests solely on duty. This touches on the ethics of life. They are at times called the norms of life. Some of the moral obligations bind us. We have to abide by them at whatever cost. At the same time, others motivate us and as we do them we get the rewards on the spot. He adds that the duty of man is guided by the moral action. That is the ability for a person to choose good morals and resist the bad ones.
According to Kant, our moral duty is to be truthful. Man has a duty to be truthful in all situations. This is because truth helps us to become worthwhile people in the society. Apart from fear of repercussions, the writer urges man to embrace truth as virtue. He argues often destroys the liar and make him to lose his human dignity in the society. Such a person has no duty on earth. Kant concludes by hinting that moral duty is achieved by a truthful person.
According to Kantian doctrines, people live to achieve happiness in life. Most of people therefore seek to find gratification and pleasure in a number of things expecting to achieve this. The truth of the matter is the fact that happiness in an elusive thing and only the lucky ones are able to achieve it. Kant thus thinks that ethics plays a major role in achieving many things in life. The ethics we embrace must be free from skepticism and must also be universal for their effectiveness to be realized. According to him, things that are done out of good will remain to be good and important. Anything done out of good will shows that there is a will of duty on the particular issue. In light these; he thus believes that good will is the only virtue that can be termed as universal due to its lack of ambiguity.
Duty is very central in good will. It is the motivation that is able to change a person’s will and make it good. This is unlike reason that the majority has most of the time used in order to be happy and enjoy life. The result has been emergence of more and more frustrations in life. Kant acknowledges that the constraints and adequacies that are experienced in life are important. They direct people to behave and do things that are morally accepted. The moral obligation helps to set boundaries. Thus, duty remains the motivation that is able to make people do things that are morally beneficial.
He believes that human will can only become good if the motivation behind is not due to the human desires alone. Goodwill only comes by when we act according to the law. This should not be for a specific goal but just for the sake of the law. He gives an analogy of a shopkeeper. She has an obligation to sell her biscuits at the required price as a duty. If she decides to change the price of the biscuits just to retain the customers, then she does not deserve any moral credit for that. Her action does not count in this instance, but the reason behind the action. The respect of the universal law is an important aspect in this instance than anything else. This is the reason he says, “I ought to never act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law” (4:402). To him, this is the motivation for morality.
Kant believes that we are therefore duty bound to do things. This brings the law into play due to the fact that duty comes through the law. For instance, an organization makes laws that all the members are obligated to follow. We can say that the members are duty-bound to obey the written law. This is the same thing with the respecting laws of a given country. This is something that not all agree with. To them, duty cannot be the only motivator for moral obligation. Kant’s idea means that motivation by duty is due to the respect of the law that is in place. Therefore, the action that is done defines duty that is demanded. This also means that we are obligated to this duty so long as we are under the rule of the law that exists. When we opt out of it, then we come out of the need to the follow.
It is thus obvious that external things and acts are not the determinant of how people should morally act. Moral obligation comes from the will first. Moral irrationality of this only focuses on the will of a person and not the means to the end. According to Kant, morality can only come out from the rational principles and not the empirical knowledge. Acting from duty remains the only way that morality is upheld. This is due to the fact that an action will only be good morally because it comes from a good will. Such an action is done out of a pure desire to fulfill the duty. Duty therefore becomes a dictate of reason that has to be done irrespective of a person’s personal desires.
Kantian morality is exhibited through the actions that are in themselves good. Duty is the only thing required to show respect of the law regardless of the selfishness that is shown by the people. Kant argues out that this kind of morality comes from pure reason. He believes that the only moral law with the ability to succeed can only come from pure reason. This is what leads to the moral knowledge. This is what leads to the action of good will. Kant maintains that the only person who can act out good will must first have the will to act out of duty. He believes that this in itself is an end. He says, “It is impossible to conceive anything in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without limitation, save only a good will” (7:400). He believes that people should the right things for the right reasons, because it is the correct to be done.
Views of Silentio on Moral Duty of Man
However, Johannes de Silentio gives a different perspective to the idea of duty. He says that what ethical equals to what is universal; this is what leads to divinity. He believes that all duty should be directed to God but this cannot make him have a duty towards God if no more can be said. He also says that a duty only becomes legal if it can be traced back to God. If gives an example of a duty to love the neighbor as a duty but this, according to him only leads to his relationship with the neighbor but not God (pg 68). The ultimate understanding that Silento brings is the fact that universal moral ethics have been given by God. The duty of mankind is to simply obey them. This is unlike Kant’s idea which says that moral ethics only come from reason. According to Kant, one can become a universal law for others to emulate.
Silentio argues thatone must obtain duty in order to be ethical.In his view, what somebody does defines the person. If you do good deeds, then your morals are bad while a good deed describes the appropriate principles. He argues that whatever you do reveals your conviction. This is because you cannot do something that you do not believe. In this regard, duty defines the ethics of man.
According to Silentio, duty is authentic and free. This gives liberty for man on the manner in which duty is done. He argues that the duty of man is his wish and his wish is his duty. This means that the writer regards wish and duty as the same. Silentio further argues that men who attend to their duty can change it to their wish through enthusiasm. Men ought to exercise their duty with maximum autonomy without occasion.
Faith also forms the basis in which Silentio argues about the moral duty of man. He says that man ought to carry out his duty through faith in God. This is evidenced by his admiration of the moral duty of Abraham who accepted to offer his son as a sacrifice. He further proposes that he would rather do his duty by fear and trembling. This shows a higher expression of a fulfillment to the moral duty of man.