Pablo Muchnik in his book, Kant’s Theory of Evil, argues that Kant explicates the radical tendency to evil in the notions of the weakness of the human heart, the impurity of the human heart, and finally in the wickedness of the human heart. The weakness of the human heart is signified in the idea of the weakness of the will. St. Paul confessed that what he willed to do, he did not do, and what he willed not to do he did (Romans 7). The acting person knows the action is morally required, but fails to pursue it and instead acts out of inclination. In this case, Muchnik argues, the agent knows the validity of the moral law, but does not give the authority to determine her actions. Kant says the acting person with a weak heart, then makes herself think that her motivation is basically good, even when her actions speak to the contrary (p. 157). Muchnik holds that the acting person with a weak heart is lead to gluttony, lust, and wild lawlessness [in relation to other human beings] even in the situation where moral luck makes her temperate and humble.
Pablo Muchnik has a thoroughly intriguing book as well as a fascinating take on this much discussed subject matter in Kant. I now comprehend the idea of radical evil in Kant much better. Muchnik, in his book Kant’s Theory of Evil, makes the issues involved in Immanuel Kant’s doctrine of radical evil much clearer than most interpreters. Muchnik takes a position between Henry Allison and Allen Wood by showing that the idea that human beings have an tendency to evil is not an empirical conclusion but also has a priori status.
The frail heart knows better but doesn’t do better, but the impure heart doesn’t adopt the moral law as a sufficient incentive for moral action, but allows incentives of the inclinations to determine her actions. Her actions conform to duty, but are not done from duty. Her real motivation is self-love even if she looks like she is doing the morally right thing. Muchnik tells us that this agent transforms morality into a system of hypothetical imperatives.
The wicked heart represents depravity and perverts moral judgment at its root. The wicked heart pursues non-moral reasons as a matter of principle. She “callously uses everyone else as a tool to her goals, justifying her conduct in terms of a perverse conception of the good” (p. 161). Kant considers this the highest expression of the propensity to evil. This person systematically denies dignity to other persons and even to themselves. Radical Evil in Immanuel Kant
Muchnik also takes a position on the sticky query of whether Kant’s position can sufficiently account for the immorality of murder and genocide. Against Claudia Card and Bernstein, Muchnik defends Kant’s argument that even these horrible acts are motivated by self-love. Bernstein desires to use the idea of the diabolical will, but Muchnik argues that such a will would be unable to be legislative and would destroy itself.education, Evil, Goodness, Immanuel Kant, morality, motivation, Philosophy, religion, self-help, Theology, wisdom