Our Duty for Beavers

In the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant states that there is an unconditional good where people are intrinsically good without any intentions of power, intelligence, fortune, etc. He claims that the specific obligations of a good will are called duties, in which he makes three propositions about them. The second proposition is interesting because he states that “an action from duty has its moral worth not in the purpose to be attained by it but in the maxim in accordance with which it is decided upon”. This means that one should fulfill his or her duties because of the principle of volition where people fulfill a duty without any regard for objects or desires. However, if one expects a particular result or is driven by some external motivation other than the duty, it violates this good will. Therefore, people should only act upon a duty without regard for the benefits or consequences the action may bring upon them to be considered an unconditionally good driven duty.

In a Facebook video I found, there’s a man who finds a beaver with a stick about five times its size preparing to walk across the street. The man recognizes that this beaver is probably trying to build a dam in the middle of the night and decides to leave his car and help the beaver carry the stick across the street. This man is acting out of a sense of duty in which he understands that he should help innocent animals despite the fact that he will not gain anything directly from the beaver. On the other hand, he could fulfill his duty driven from an external motivation in which he knows he will go viral on Facebook for this act of kindness. Considering both sides, I would argue that he is fulfilling his duty out of an intrinsically good will by the second proposition Kant states in which he is doing it for its moral worth and not because of any material principle. 

Man Helps Beaver Carry Huge Stick

He was heading to a party when he spotted a beaver in need of help 😂👏ViralHog

Posted by It's Gone Viral on Monday, November 4, 2019