Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Natural and Moral Man in History

Category Morals, Oral History
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Immanuel Kant was one of the principal names and possibly the chief in the Western rationalism and enlightenment progress in the 18th century. He is the father of dualism in existence of ‘man and mind’. According to him, first, man has a natural side wherein his feelings or thoughts, inclination, desires, field of consciousness and emotions are incorporated. This possesses man to be under the natural laws, just like other creatures, but that is not enough to make him consider as human because what makes man human possessing will is his mental abilities, and this lifted him to be superior and better than to all other creatures.

 Animals are born of whatever means are necessary for them to live as if “another intelligence had thought of everything they need” like horns or claws or teeth and needed knowledge and instincts. But man is born as “a creature gathering all the deprivations in his ego”. Man, equipped with intelligence and a “nature that doesn’t do anything unnecessary and doesn’t waste any material used for the attainment of goals”, must accomplish, himself, everything above the mechanical order of his animal existence without following his instincts. Because it is naturally, from the very beginning of his existence is equipped with intelligence which can be inherited from the parents and also the free will which only depends on his intelligence. He himself controls all his actions, because he depends on his consciousness about something.

Kant’s case of existence has an area of “showing the qualities” which has been the subject of all body of systematic knowledge which are based on facts, namely, the part, showing the well-defined known attributes. And the other area is composed of the “metaphysical core”. In which one cannot learn if it is not perceived. This is only possible by developing the character or the personality of an individual. For example, the religion which is a matter of man’s basic make-up but not merely with its natural knowledge where he needs to supply all for himself from his basic needs like food he will eat up to clothing and any other thing he will use for his own protection.

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 According to Kant, man was brought out to this world with talents and skills but he still need to enhance those by trainings and by acquiring education. Man has a so called human growth and development stages which necessitates them to be trained and cared by other persons or simply by their parents. As mentioned by Aristotle, man is a rational being, which can discover lot of things by its own efforts of thinking and hard work. This made the transfer and preservation of discoveries and knowledge for future use. Due to learning and education, the species character of animal was develop to a man that clearly classify us from other lower forms, thus made man inclined to humanity and the purpose of existence. This is the barrier of humans to the unconscious minded creature. Due to discipline acquired from the human environment prevented man to become uncultivated or wild.

From the existence, animals are naturally equipped with the capabilities to survive from their first breath. But they are not provided with aptitudes for good and evil. Meaning, an animal is not aware of the good and bad, while a human possesses aptitude for good and evil, because we are with moral standards. As man was given good education, his actions will probably show good things. Apparently, morality shall be learned and acted freely but away from evil sources. In short, the factors that makes a man a human is his intelligence and its discovery that depends on education.

Kant’s morality is based on the off-putting of the physical-emotional side of man. He put both man and existence into two (2) different spheres, he thought that the principles of man must be traditional that should be found in man’s own being and conscience. As said by Kant, the intelligence that determines our conscience or action and direction is the practical intelligence that makes a man a human through its activities. Morality is very important. The universal and unchangeable moral honorable purposes in the mind make man analyze, then it will convert the animal side of a man into human.

Practical intelligence or our will assigns us duties. These are duties directed toward realizing the purposes mentioned. He also alienated man as a “natural creature” and “an independent intelligent creature” into two existences; the visible world and the independent realm of intelligence. He thought that man is the center of everything. He focused on man’s humanity and happiness, also in the progress of changes and development of intelligence based on the universal and moral standards found in the conscience.

Cosmopolitanism and Perpetual Peace by Immanuel Kant

The ideal center of cosmopolitanism is that all human beings belong to a single community that is needed to be cultivated. According to Kant, all rational beings are members in a moral community which is similar to a republic that shares equality, freedom and independence. They are governing by the laws of morality, grounded in reason.  He advocated the weakest form of international legal order, namely, league of nation, or the so called uniting of all nations. From his book of Perpetual Peace, he argued that world-wide peace can be attaining by the internal organization of the state which is accord to the republican principles.

Some reacted negatively against the proposition of Immanuel Kant, due to its inconsistency. He also presented the third sphere of the public law, which is the cosmopolitan law, in which, both the state and every citizen living in it have the rights as citizen’s of earth, rather than as a citizen of a specific state. Under moral cosmopolitanism is the valued equality of everyone most probably in terms of gender, this separated them from slavery, colonial exploitation, hierarchy of feudalism and tutelage of various sorts.

Republic and its Relation to Nature and Morality

A republic shares equality, freedom and independence. They are governed by the laws of morality, grounded in reason. Where every individual living in the same state is given rights, freedom, acceptance and independence. It is a state in which the sovereignty resides in the people or a certain portion of the people, and the legislative and administrative powers are lodged in officers elected by and representing the people; a representative democracy. It is applied to almost every from of government except kingdoms, empires and dictatorships. Meaning, it is a community of persons working freely in or devoted to the same cause.

A republic is composed of the people living in a state devoted to the same cause. Every individual has the capabilities to survive by using their natural qualities powered up by their intelligence and consciousness to understand. As a man grows up and develops little by little he discovers his weaknesses and strengthens his abilities. He is taught by other humans I his environment about the good and bad things he might encounter in his life. There are lots of things to learn. Here enters education, this is what is being imparted to generation by generation for their own race’s progression of the future.

Man is educated about the basic activities for survival. He is taught of the rules and laws embedded to his area or state. Once he became conscious about something, he will began be curious to know how to surpass a different situation. Together with his ability to think and rationalization, his intelligence will lead him to a plan for success in overcoming the scenario.

To build a strong society, a state, we need to strive hard in molding our people. There is a need to start from the single citizen that composes a group. The state should make it possible for its member to attain education, for them to enhance their natural potentials, talents and abilities which can be useful for the economic growth of the country. The republic must promote solidarity with other nations and become an exemplar of a peaceful living.

Everything is connected to everything else as stated in the Ecology’s seven principles. This is parallel to the relation between the republic, nature and the morality.  It is quite visible and perceivable that it is a cycle and a mutual relationship inside a county. Their foundation is each other.  They depend on each pillar. To start it, from the existence of an individual which is the simple unit of society, till he received and gained a support from the state through education, till he exercised his natural sense of thinking to solve circumstances and grew to experiences will produce him into a well competitive independent individual of a society bounded with the laws of morality, based on ethics.

The responsibility of the elected people in the republic is to help and support its people to discover and cultivate their own potentials and also contribute to the improvement of the society and also help other new existing little children equipped with their own intelligence which needs practice and cultivation.

Immanuel Kant focused on the natural and morality of man in terms of its existence and role in the society. That a man becomes human when taught to be morally upright based on some standards together with the other man in the society with same will, will promote a republic that fall out into the same mean. That is to raise a man on its natural qualities and live in a moral society with better persons.

Work Cited

Bohman, James. “Cosmopolitan Republicanism.” The Monist 84 (2001): 3-22

Heater, Derek. World Citizenship and Government: Cosmopolitan Ideas in the History of Western Political Thought. New York: St. Martin's, 1996.

Kleingeld, Pauline. “Approaching Perpetual Peace: Kant's Defence of a League of States and his Ideal of a World Federation.” European Journal of Philosophy 12 (2004): 304-325.

Kleingeld, Pauline. “Six Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany.” Journal of the History of Ideas 60 (1999): 505-524.

Kleingeld, Pauline. “Kantian Patriotism.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 29 (2000): 313-341.

Rawls, John. The Law of Peoples. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Schlegel. “Essay on the Concept of Republicanism occasioned by the Kantian tract ’Perpetual Peace’.” In The Early Political Writings of the German Romantics, ed. and trans. Frederick C. Beiser, 93-112. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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