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Immanuel Kant's View of the World and Perception of Human Nature

1. Describe Immanuel Kant’s view of the world and his perception of human nature.
2. What does Immanuel Kant see as the main source of human discord? 3 paragraph.
3. What is Immanuel Kant’s prescription for human discord? Provide an example.
4. What do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of Immanuel Kant’s view of human nature?
5. Describe Karl Marx’s concept of the world and of human nature.
6. What are the causes of human suffering according to Karl Marx?
7. What is Karl Marx’s prescription for the alleviation of human suffering? Provide an example.
8. What do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of Karl Marx’s theories of human nature?

1. Immanuel Kant is considered as one of the greatest philosopher in western tradition. His contribution to ethics, epistemology and aesthetics had impact on every philosophical movement that followed him. A fundamental aspect of Kant’s philosophy was to describe scientific knowledge is possible. Kant argued that science depends on specific fundamental proposition. These principles cannot be proved empirically at the same time these principles are not tautologies either. In Kant’s view, they are priori proposition whose predicate concept is not remain contained in its subject concept but related and justification of the proposition does not depend upon experience.

Kant was mainly focused in reconciling religion and morality with science. Kant perceptual knowledge of human nature depends upon the interaction between sensory states and incident outside the mind. According to Kant, the principles of human actions are far important than the exact result of the action itself. Since, if individuals are motivated by correct principles then he/she will exhibit ethical behavior. However, Kant’s state that human actions need to have universality. The essence of the theory is to never lie for greater future.

Kant contrasts that reason demands that everyone will be moral. According to him, rational person should confirm their wills to the law of moral. Being moral is about having right intension and has nothing to do with the consequences of their other actions. In case of immorality, Kant believes that people freely choose to neglect their duty on one hand but at the same time, the propensity to evil is innate somehow (Saunders and Joe).

2. Kant has discussed the in definability of human nature in an effective manner. Kant has proposed a question about the nature of human being. He discussed the theory at the very centre of the philosophy. However, he never tried to provide a systematic answer to it. Kant has discussed that the peculiar characteristics of human species are indefinable. As per Kant’s theory, human nature is predispositions. He rejects the traditional definition of human being as he does not agree with the fact that human comes from animal rationale. Moreover, he discovers that rational capacities that facilitate them in opening our nature to modification by being the source of perfectibility. He analyses the reason that human capacity for an indeterminate mode of life is open–ended and self devised. On the contrary, the life of other animal is fixed for them by instinct. Therefore, the traditional definition suggests a confession that the human nature is in principle indefinable.

Immanuel Kant's Main Source of Human Discord

The major difficulty of anthropology lies in regularities in individual’s behavior that might also be indicative to human nature as such. Kant observed that major regularities of people’s behavior are because of their habit. However, habits describe only about how an individual going to react in a familiar situation. Still consider humans in several situations, different circumstances exhibits different habits of an individual. Further, habits have to be ambiguous if individuals have to perform one of their necessary psychic functions.

Kant’s skepticism regarding human discord contains two factors. First, Kant has doubt regarding the capacity to study human nature. Kant seems to believe that psychological explanations will never be greater than conjectural or hypothetical. Kant also has doubts are about the principles of the anthropology. Since he believes that, everyone knows about the human nature gives their reason for disturbing their abilities to know themselves.

3. The problem indicating the character of human species is insoluble as e solution made based on the comparison of two species of rational being. However, experience does not indulge with the solution. Kant clearly believes in intelligent extraterrestrial life that indicates the fact about the fantasy of human exceptionalism. At one point, Kant briefly compares humans with as the possible rational being on the planet. He has explained that predicting the human nature is the most difficult task. The reason for the difficulties of predicting human nature is lack of empirical evidence of the specific natures of rational being. However, the comparison between humans and other terrestrial being could be conducted in an effective manner. On the other hand, Kant’s comparison between human beings and animals is naturalistic and biologically based. Kant always thinks differently about the nature of human species. For example, Wilson and other contemporary biology oriented theorist have the tendency to see only continuities between human s and other animals. However, Kant suggests the fundamental discontinuities between the human and other animals. Kant has argued that human are not inherently rational. However, they have the capacity to become rational in the society.

Kant has described that humans have strong tendency to disguise or conceal the truth about them. If humans notice that someone is observing him, then that individual either feel embarrassed or unable to show what he actually is. Hence, to understand human’s true nature, Kant prescribed to observe people’s unconscious behavior.

Therefore, Kant’s view that individual is psychologically opaque to themselves and to others has very little to do with their metaphysical postulate of freedom and many more things to do with several set of ideas usually associated with later thinkers. This is because Kant thinks that humans have tendency to make their representation obscure by letting them into unconsciousness. Kant thinks that an ideal example of this is the way humans deal with sexual desires and thoughts (Louden and Robert).

Immanuel Kant's Prescription for Human Discord and an Example

4. Kant’s theory gives moral laws and regulation that can be valid worldwide. Kant has a conception about human nature to an extent. According to him, the fundamental to the conception of humans having a collective history, which is to make them free and in this conception a strong feeling to struggle against their propensities to self-conceit, unsociability and inequality towards a universal free community in which every human being is striving in to a “realm of ends”. Kant’s this conception about human nature is authentically enlightenment.

Kant’s philosophy as a whole is probably the most characteristic product of the social and intellectual movement, commonly as “The Enlightenment”. It is a unique source for all progressive action and thought. Weak terminology like “a historical” and “individualistic” can have many senses.  Kant responds against the nature of human being was fundamental to all of his philosophy. Kant’s typical thought of Enlightenment is for defending the dignity and rights of individual human being. Kant has respect for human life. It holds as one of the important aspect of his theory. This ethical theory highlights most of the international laws. This theory also provides foundation for current conceptions of justice and equality. This theory also provides a basic human right theory. Kant theory is not overloaded with emotion. It also does not allow any favoritism for any close friends.  This theory has standard objective is free from individuals own culture bias and interests.

Inflexibility is an issue with Kant’s theory. There are many situations occurs where people think that is better to break rule than to remain in this theory. Some philosophers are also questioned the moral laws of Kant’s theory. Since, they does not relate with the objective of the morality. According to Kant, animal does not have any intrinsic value, which many environmentalists believe is wrong and dangerous. Some criticized the claim of duty of priority. Kant’s theory ask everyone to follow it, as it like a universal rule. Kant have faith in reattribute justice. It does not allow any mercy. Many believe that this might have immense negative impact on the society (Franke, Mark).

5. Marx’s theory regarding estrangement is directly rooted in his theory of human nature. Marx’s biological model of human nature describes the way human species are different from other animals in a very general way. Marx held a consistent assumption that human nature is expressed in a drive to spontaneously and able to produce products in a manner that is conductive to individual and social satisfaction. Marx theory implies that individual satisfaction comes in the form of others satisfaction.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Immanuel Kant's View of Human Nature

Alienation posits theory of Marx implies that the human is alienated from the production process, product, fellow people and from himself. If there is no sense of self then the final moment of alienation will eventually become nonsensical. Marx historical model argues Bentham‘s “Normal Man” concept. Historical model points out those properties that are subjected to change. According to Marx, if a man is confronted by himself then the other man will confront him as well.

According to Marx, one element will determine where an individual stands in the social class hierarchy. Still Marx does make distinction between Entausserung and Entfremdung. However, in human nature this distinction is very little but it is an important one which Marx tries to describe in his theory.

6. According to Marx, every criticism starts with the criticism of religion. This is often considered as the starting position that ends with a view that religion is optimum for the people. Marx stated that the religion is the sigh of the creature in a hostile world. The description of the religion as the heart of this heartless world thus eventually becomes a critique of religion, as it exists. Even though actions and understanding is closely linked in Marx theory.

Marx took idealistic and Hegelian approach and added in a materialistic grounding from Feuerbach. For him religion is the most divine feeling in a man. Marx synthesis of debate between Feuerbach and Hegel is to agree with them but to turn both of them upside down. Thus, Marx was able to launch the Communist Manifesto with the intention that the history of all existing is the story of struggles. For Marx, this was a real factor of history; struggles between real classes that produced historical outcomes which again went on to become new struggles.

Marx thought of leaving humans in Buddha’s family is because he thought it might change people’s materialistic conditions and might minimize their suffering. According to Marx, religion is merely a temporary painkiller that everyone needs to take until everyone get a better world that does not require it. Marx explains that human suffering will not end by changing world but by changing themselves.

7. Human suffering is something that always present in the society. Although the suffering may take different forms several societal and historical contexts, there are lots of elements of suffering. Rightly, Marx saw religion as one of the major social structures contributing to humanity’s current and deplored state of affairs. Marx bought Enlightenment notion of progress. Marx theory tries to develop a society where everybody in the society helps each other to reduce the human suffering (Kitching and Gavin).

Marx perception of materialism is the understanding the society’s reality. In this theory, capitalism philosophy is grounded in both materialist and dialectical. As a materialist, Marx not agrees with the existence of the God. Yet he felt that humanities destiny is still have hope. Marx believes that the proletariat revolution is a key. Marx theory encourages people especially from the lower class to work hard to overcome their insufficient economical condition.

According to Marx, world system was inherently unfair. As in this society, nobody has any concern about the other individuals. Marx viewed that socialism is the major factor of this heartless society. Hence, Marx prescribed capitalism so that world can be a society where everyone took care of others (Veblen and Thorstein).

8. The main strength of Marxism is a theoretical one. This theory explains a humane way to run an entire society. In Marx society, everyone will help each other and nobody will remain poor in the entire society. Marx theory helps to raise increase awareness on everyone’s mind. Specially, for those peoples who belong to the lower class of the society, Marx theory is influential. Since it gives them the believe that they could get rid of their uncondussive and poor life.

However, main weakness of Marx theory’s major weakness is that it does not go with the real life situation. Since, this theory does not take into account the necessary selfishness and greediness of human being. Marx relies on individual to work extremely hard just to become rich from their efforts. However, the real world situation is somewhat different from this. Marx’s economy is also always have been unproductive and inefficient (Berlin and Isaiah).

Marx also failed to consider ecological sustainability in his theory. According to Marx, capitalism is the cause of all major problems. In other words, Marx’ theory has no idea about the limit of growth concept. Marxist idea about changing society is also highly criticized by Anarchists.  It also failed to consider the unacceptable dangers in taking an authoritarian centralists approach. Since, it is very much possible that those in control of the society are very likely to become a dictator. In Marx theory, too much importance is given on the economical factors in describing social change and development.


Saunders, Joe. "Kant on Mind, Action, & Ethics." (2016).

Louden, Robert, et al. "Lectures on anthropology: the Cambridge edition of the works of Immanuel Kant." (2013): 1-640.

Franke, Mark FN. Global limits: Immanuel Kant, international relations, and critique of world politics. SUNY Press, 2014.

Berlin, Isaiah. Karl Marx. Princeton University Press, 2013.

Veblen, Thorstein. The socialist economics of Karl Marx and his followers. Read Books Ltd, 2015.

Kitching, Gavin. Karl Marx and the Philosophy of Praxis (RLE Marxism). Vol. 6. Routledge, 2015.

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