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Explain Freuds challenge to Kants moral argument for the existence of God

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Introduction

Thomas Hurley Philosophy Homework Questions Explain Freud?s challenge to Kant?s moral argument for the existence of God (25 marks) Kant believed that God's existence could only be established through faith, as opposed to logic. He reasoned that in a perfect world, behaving morally should lead to happiness, since happiness should be the natural reward for virtue. However this doesn't happen in our world so he reasoned that there must be something else that motivates people to behave morally, other than the possibility of immediate happiness. He argued people must be subject to an objective sense of obligation, which compels them to behave in a certain way, regardless of the consequences, this being the innate moral understanding. Kant said that our sense of duty was based on reason, whereas Freud argued that our conscience was a product of the unconscious mind or super ego of the human mind. Kant would firstly suggest in his argument that we all have a sense of innate moral awareness, from this we are under obligation to be virtuous meaning we are obliged to be good and morally excellent, this first stage would suggest that our innate moral awareness has come from God. ...read more.

Middle

Kant?s moral argument does not postulate that God is necessary for morality but that God is required for morality to achieve its end therefore it is morally necessary to assume the existence of God. However Freud?s notion that religion is an obsessional neurosis suggests postulating the existence of God to guarantee a system of objective moral values is just part of the neurosis. Basically, Freud used the mind to explain how morals occur in our lives in an attempt to disprove Kant?s moral argument for the existence of God. Freud distinguished between three components of the human psyche. The ID being the basic instincts and primitive desires e.g. hunger, lust etc. The Ego is the perceptions of the external that makes us aware of the ?reality principle,? one?s most outward part and personality. And finally the Superego, the unconscious mind which consists of ehe ego-ideal which praises good actions and the conscience which makes you feel guilty for bad actions. All of this science cannot be directly observed but is an excellent theory of moral development; all of this theory tends to undermine everything Kant explained in order to prove God?s existence. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is nothing to say that the Summum Bonum must be the highest good. There is question to whether virtue must be rewarded with happiness and whether this is universal. In the defence of Kant?s argument, morality comes from not just people but also from God. For example, Kant stated that God guaranteed that the Summum Bonum is achievable and that humans are aware of God?s law when they act rationally, God?s law being found through reason. Secondly, the issue with what is considered morally right in one culture may not be considered right in another, thus showing that there is no universal moral law. Even Kant admits that his argument is not proof by saying "my conviction is not logical but moral certainty". Lastly is the issue regarding the challenges that Freud?s argument raised, his claim that religion is an obsessional neurosis is damaging to Kant?s argument simply because the statement can be backed up with scientific and psychological evidence. Religion can easily fall into the category of a mild mental disorder with the symptoms of obsession and insecurities. There are very few strengths and many weaknesses to the statement above in leading Kant?s understanding of morality to God. This does not seem like a very convincing statement. ...read more.

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