Kants Ethics Simplified


Chapter 1: Early Life And Background Of Immanuel Kant
Chapter 2: David Humes Influence On Kant's Ethics
Chapter 3: Deontological Ethics
Chapter 4: Kant's Rejection Of Naturalistic Ethics
Chapter 5: Kant's Rejection Of Teleological Ethics
Chapter 6: The Historical Antecedents Of The Categorical Imperative
Chapter 7: The Nature Of The Categorical Imperative As A Moral Law
Chapter 8: The Source Of The Moral Law
Chapter 9: The Autonomy Of The Will
Chapter 10: The Good Will Duty/Obligation
Chapter 11: The Concept Of Humanity In Kant's Ethics
Chapter 12: The Principle Of Universalizability As A Test For Moral Action
Chapter 13: The Kingdom Of Ends
Chapter 14: Kant's Postulates/Formulations For Morality
Chapter 15: The Hypothetical Imperative
Chapter 16: The Heteronomy Of The Will


It is widely agreed among students, disciples or admirers of Kant that his moral philosophy is one of his most important contributions to the history of thought. In fact, his moral philosophy, according to Lawhead, "still stands today as one of the leading resources of ethical insights as we face troubling issues our contemporary culture is encountering in the areas of political, legal, medical and business ethics"(340). Although it is alleged that Kant's life thought are hard to understand and write, Dr. John Ofem Inyang, in his characteristic manner, has been able to demystify Kant in this concise, simplified and easy to understand book. He has touched on virtually all major areas of Kant's ethics including this idea of goodwill, reason as the source of the moral law, his concept of duty, the categorical. imperatives, the moral postulates and so on. Dr. Inyang's "made simple" approach is commendable. I strongly recommend this book to philosophy students, teachers of philosophy and even lay readers. It is a must for every ready desk.

Prof. Andrew F. Uduigwomen, FIIA
Former Dean, Faculty of Arts University of Calabar.


Apparently, the state of socio-economic and . political decadence in Nigeria as a nation presupposes the collapse of democratic structures. Values or ideals such as equality, freedom, fairness and. justice, dedication to duty, honesty and sincerity of purpose in Nigeria is fast eluding us as a people or even that these values are virtually lacking and these can be attributed to the prevalence of anti-democratic vices such as corruption, tribalism, greed and the likes, resulted in the decline in morality and national consciousness in both .public and private has been a staggering or transfixed one especially as corruption and other attendant vices have eaten deep into the fabrics and roots of the system. In this work, it has been argued that the perceived collapse of democratic ideals such as equality, freedom and justice in Nigeria is predicated largely on moral decadence thus, introducing false ethical values which have fundamentally helped in depleting and destroying our nascent democracy. In this connection, it has been strongly argued that there is the imperativeness for a moral will or law that emphasizes on the "ought" as against the "is", in both public and private lives. This moral law is embedded in the 'categorical imperative' a cardinal theory in Immanuel Kant's ethical philosophy as presented in his work Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). Suffice it to state that, Kant's 'categorical imperative' intended to proffer solution to the immoral tendencies experienced in Nigerian democratic system, is devoid of personal interest that may arise from experience or material possessions and the desire for them. In line with Asouzu, this presumably is predicated on the fact that "human interest is ambivalent because it has a double capacity effect and as such can represent something negative and positive at the same time. In a bid to secure our interests we can be misled to believe that they are what they are not and in this respect we err.

Such errors can mislead to all forms of deviant behaviours and indiscretion". In this connection, and to comprehend political power aright, and derive it from its original, particularly in a democratic setting, we must consider what estate men naturally are in, and that -is, states of perfect freedom to order their actions. This freedom as conceived by Kant is only possible when experiences or sensory awareness or desires are excluded in all that impels our actions. These actions have to come from within that is, from reasoning (intelligible world) as the formulation of the 'ought'. It definitely has to be duty for duty sake and not for any inclination or extrinsic purpose. From the foregoing, it is possible to avert the political leadership described here as an opportunistic contrivance from using governmental apparatus in the search for personal or private gain contrary to the common good. The common good as argued, should have a moral imperative as its basis. That is a law based on reason and independent of any materialistic desires or inclinations. With this moral perspective, a democratic state like Nigeria is likely to be credible. The absence of this credibility will presuppose a collapse of the political leadership and order of governance. Fundamentally, the moral will from which political actors act unconditionally that is, independent of sensible desire or interest is made possible through practical reason, which is categorical and not hypothetical. In other words, the test for the moral law that entails our common good both in form and matter is the principle of universalizability, as we shall see in the main body of the work, the principle in a way demarcates between subjective and objective actions.