Kant: GoodnessThe philosopher I used is Immanuel Kant. He was very practical in histhinking of goodness. A quote of his was “I ought, therefore I can”. His viewwas good anything is under good will . He believed good will was the primarygoodness, good in its purest form, and that it couldn’t be corrupted. Goodfeelings and good intentions and actions can be interpreted in different ways;man can corrupt these things into evil..
.even though it still might be good inthat man’s eyes. What he’s really trying to say is that good will is good inits objective form. Therefore, it defines goodness.
A few examples of forms ofgoodness that could be corrupt are intelligence, courage, and resolution.These things can be very good, but can be used for evil as well.The short story I would like to allude to in order to connect thesethemes and ideas is “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. The title even has “good” init..
.and according to Kant, goodness in its purest form is good will. Thequestion now would be, does the Misfit have good will? Is what he is doing good,objectively, and purely? He is purging and purifying the world. He is Christlike in many senses. He is purifying the world by purging it of itsevil.
..relating to the Old Testament.
God decided that the human race was tooevil to survive, so he flooded it. God killed, as well as the Misfit. Thisisn’t the same as Christ, though; it just adds to the religious element.Christ’s mission was to try and rid the world of evil, and sacrificed for it.The Misfitsacrificed his freedom initially, was “reborn” again by escapingfrom jail, and become a Christ like figure again.
..he’s now reborn, and hismission has an even stronger exclamation point on it, just like Christ’s afterhe was resurrected. The literal differences are obvious; Christ never heldanyone at gunpoint, let alone kill old ladies (no matter HOW hateful).
But theallusions above illustrate that the Misfit was indeed a Christ-like figure withgood intentions; good will .The Misfit was in a world of evil where he feltit was his mission, as well as his intention and his will, to be the savior ofthe good people.When it really comes to good will, I believe that the Misfit did havegood will and that, in a world such as his, the South, he was not just playingGod, but his will was forcing him to be God to judge the “infidels”.I think the best poem I can relate to Kant’s philosophy is “RichardCory”. Richard Cory didn’t have good will, that was his downfall. You can’ttell a whole lot from his personal life from the poem, but you can always assumethat he didn’t have good will, at least in relation to Kant’s philosophy.Assuming that, we look at his “good” actions, intentions, etc.
from the poem.He was a pillar of society, looked at as the model of goodness. This is exactlythe people’s mistake. I believe that the people killed Richard Cory by notlooking inward for goodness; by saying: ” Well, if Richard Cory does that, if Ido that, I’ll be good like him”.
This put him on a pedestal, like the hungerartist. The people killed him by this method; he realized that the people didnot have good will because they were looking at him for goodness, and therefore,he could never have good will. The people were looking for an identity, and itwas too much for Richard Cory.An aspect of my life, or upcoming life, that I’d relate to Kant’sphilosophy is the fact that someday, I’d like to be a parent. We say it’s for”selfish reasons”, but I think most people who realize what they’re doing whenthey want to become a parent , and not just a biological mother/father, alsorealize how much responsibility, caring, and planning parenting really takes.
God knows that the fact this isn’t happening often enough is leading to problemslike overpopulation and societal breakdown, but I would want to be a role modelto my child(ren) and teach them everything I know so that eventually, they willbe the best possible person I can raise them to be, and then be able to go outon their own and do the same. I think that this is good will, because, yes,reproduction is selfish in a way, but if you have the good will to be a goodparent, by teaching your children, and trying to make them model their livesafter yours, if you truly believe you can be a good mother/father, then you areacting on good will much more than selfishness. Philosophy