In most instances, humans are usually faced with a host of moral dilemmas in their day to day experiences and general life. Just like other disciplines, most of the activities that occur in the field of real estate tend to raise various moral concerns. These are wide and varied and range form policy formulation, implementation and enforcement to normal interactions, decision making and environmental issues. Certainly, professionals and learners are compelled to make various moral decisions in a bit to resolve the emergent issues amicably.
However, the process of decision making raises different questions with respect to their justification. Put differently, the decision making process is compounded by inconsistencies regarding how the respective persons classify the activities as being either right or wrong, good or bad, noble or base, virtuous or vicious and just or unjust. Of great reference however is the degree of how just such knowledge is and how this can be ascertained. Of course this differs significantly from how other social and or scientific concerns are perceived. It is against this background that this paper provides an analysis of knowledge and justification concerns in light of Hume and Kant.
In his review, Treatise, Hume indicates that the concept of morality is invaluable and it superseded all other aspects of humanity (Baier, 1991). From a historical point of view, determination of how to live and interact within the social sphere was influenced by the need to live a satisfactory life. Notably, this has intrinsic benefits and it implies that measures are undertaken to eliminate any possibilities of infringing upon the lives of others. With time, the basic assumptions that there was a distinct way of life that was considered to be moral and that God was the source of all morals was questioned over time. This according to Baier (1994) culminated in the rise of modern ethics. This did not impact significantly on the original thought that morality at this time was perceived to comprise acts that enhanced happiness and pleasure. It is at this point that the discipline was further analyzed by Hume and Kant.
Hume’s school of thought is based on the realization that reason can never be the sole cause of action. According to him, desire and or feelings are responsible for the different actions that humans engage in. In this consideration therefore, Norton (1993) indicates that Hume maintained that feelings influence human morality. This is to a certain extend true because feelings and the desires to attain certain statuses always influence humans to behave in particular manner. For instance, it is agreed that if the policies governing environmental planning were absent, developers that are desperate for wealth would seldom put in consideration the required standards. Bricke (1996) indicates that Hume’s morality is fundamentally virtue centered. Human traits or activity act as a basement upon which morality is determined. Hume thus explores a wide range of virtues in a bit to determine whether they are virtuous or not. From a personal point of view, this approach can be considered to be efficient because actions rather than thoughts impact on human relationships.
Unlike Hume, Kant considered morality in light of moral law. According to Guyer (2005), this law was applicable to all segments of the society and at any given time. It imposes to humans absolute duties. Humans in this regard are compelled to align their actions to universal expectations. Notably, the inability to align one’s activities to universal laws that are legally presented s rights and entitlements culminates in infringement upon an individual’s way of life. This is immoral especially considering the fact that fundamentally, morality is derived on the need to enhance happiness and pleasure. However, it is worth appreciating that all these factors needed to be integrated accordingly in order to strengthen this school of thought. From Kant’s point of view, human actions or ethics could be based entirely on reason. At this point, the concept of will can be considered to be the main difference between Kant’s and Hume’s viewpoints.
Kant considered the human will to have absolute autonomy. The fact that it can not be influenced or motivated by any external factor implies that resultant actions can be solely depended on reason (Moser & Vander Nat, 2003). In contrast, Hume considered desire and feelings to influence reason in different ways. In this regard, Hume argued that reason is fundamental in discovering the causes of pain as well as pleasure whose prospects also cause action. In other words, pleasure and pain according to Hume also motivate action (Baillie, 2000). Thus the aspect of morality in this regard is influenced by three main factors whose interplay determines the nature of actions that an individual engages in. This is a rational approach that appreciates the role of internal as well as external factors. From a practical point of view, it can be ascertained that human activities is a complex conception that tends to be influenced by various intricate and augmenting factors.
In his research, Bricke (1996) also cites that while Kant grounds his morality conception on priori principles, Hume’s approach to ethics is empirical and experimental in nature. It is presented as being different from other aspects such as religion and the influence of the higher power. Also, Kant lays particular emphasis on the importance of duty. Hume on the other hand considers this a secondary and not primary motive (Ameriks, 2006). Kant believed that morality enabled one to attain the desirable status of utmost goodness. This has intrinsic goodness that is characterized by a maximal and universal virtue and happiness. This is true in the sense that only virtuous activities can culminate to a highest degree of happiness. The feeling has inherent benefits that range from happiness to satisfaction. For example, upholding of justice and social values usually makes one to experience feelings of comfort and satisfaction. Exploitation and injustice on the other hand triggers feelings of guilt that compromise the level of happiness that the given individual experiences.
In sum, it can be ascertained that justification of ethical knowledge dates back to historical times. Initially, virtuous behavior was considered an essential ethical element. Through time, aspects of God being the source of morality, happiness and pleasure were held in high regard. Although the schools of thought that were put forward by Kant and Hume differ considerably, it is worth noting that they consider actions to be the sole determinants of morals. In addition, both philosophers consider reason to influence morality at different degrees. The only shortcoming that needs to be bridged by the philosophers pertains to the need to reconcile the inherent gaps with respect to integration of different factors whose interplay determines the ultimate nature of morality. Nonetheless, the mentioned reasons contribute significantly to justification of morality.
Approaches to Epistemology Implications
Rationalism Personal acts need to be harmonic to universal laws
Some types of knowledge are factual, they can not be changed
We need to be held responsible for the consequences of our acts
Empiricism Our sensory system alerts us to behave in a certain manner; we need to be observant
Statistics and other forms of data can enable us to make predictions accordingly. These should then determine our course of action
Truth is also determined through criticism
Source: Norton (1993)
Ameriks, K. (2006). Kant and the Historical Turn: Philosophy as Critical Interpretation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Baier, A. (1991). A Progress of the Sentiments: Reflection on Hume’s Treatise. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.
Baier, A. (1994). Moral Prejudices. Cambridge: Mass University Press.
Baillie, J. (2000). Hume on Morality. London: New York.
Beck, L. (1978). Essays on Kant and Hume. London: Yale University Press.
Bricke, J. (1996). Mind and Morality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Guyer, P. (2005). Knowledge, Reason and Taste. Kant’s Responses to Hume. Princeton: University Press.
Hare, J. (1996). The Moral Gap. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Moser, P. & Vander Nat, A. (2003). Human Knowledge: Classical and Contemporary Approaches. Oxford: University Press.
Norton, D. (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hume. Cambridge: University Press.