Essay on Kant’s Third Moral Maxim

“Act as a member of a kingdom of ends.” It means – So act as to behave in understanding that you and everyone else are of intrinsic value behave as befits members of a society in which everyone looks upon the good off another as having a value equal to his own and everyone behaves upto his as he does unto them in which everyone is means and end, in which every one attains his own good and increased the good of others.

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In this way Kant imagines a ‘Kingdom of Ends’, which is an ideal state in which all members obey the moral law. Each member of that state autonomously controls and applies the law upon himself, which law is his internal rational law. Rational law is universal.

Thus people who follow it are in a state of complete mutual harmony. A moral kingdom is a perfect kingdom. In it all the members look upon themselves and others are individuals in all personal and social relations. In this kingdom man obey rational laws quite normally.


Moral laws are neither extent laws nor supernatural orders. They are self-imposed and obedience to them does not depend upon external pressure. In this way in a perfect society, everyone will be free, rational and happy.


Kant’s third moral maxim is open to criticisms in the following points:

(i) Psychological dualism in reason and sensibility:


Kant’s moral principle is based on a psychological dualism in reason and sensibility. He treats the man to as mutually contradictory, forgetting meanwhile, and their inseparable nature as parts of the soul.

Sensibility is the subject matter of moral life. It needs the form of intellect. It is not essential that it contradicts reason. Without of it, as a matter of fact, no activity can be carried out- Thus sensibility is essential for a moral ft life. Dualism can be found fallacious.

(ii) Mere form:

Thus, lacking sensibility Kant’s moral dictums ft are mere forms. Even the third moral maxim is merely a form. To say that we too, like citizen of a kingdom of ends, should make use ft of everyone as an end, never as the means does not lead to any real directive in practical life. Man is the good of others? How should we endeavour for its attainment? Nothing can be found to this end is this maxim.


(iii) Happiness is impossible in the absence of Sensibility:

Kant has included measure in happiness but if happiness includes pleasure then how is it possible after a repression of desires and how does God grant happiness to moral person and how can it be imagined that ultimate good includes happiness as well as virtue.

(iv) Partial Moral theory:

Kant’spure moralism is partial. It terms the moral values a perfect state. But to fulfill one’s duty completely oblivious of the result may be not only ascerticism but event incorrect. If by our deviation from the truth an innocent life can be saved, how far is it moral to tell the truth and play with a life? An action can not itself be moral in it, both intention and consequences are important.

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