What Is a Point of Similarity Between Kant’s Moral Philosophy and Existentialism?


Diego Sanchez

When it comes to philosophy, there are many different schools of thought. Two of the most well-known are Kant’s moral philosophy and existentialism. Although they may seem vastly different at first glance, there is actually a significant point of similarity between the two.

At their core, both Kant’s moral philosophy and existentialism share a focus on individual responsibility. This can be seen in the emphasis that each places on personal agency and autonomy.

Kant’s moral philosophy is based on the idea that actions should be judged based on their adherence to universal moral laws. These laws are grounded in reason and apply equally to all individuals. In this sense, Kant believed that each person has a duty to act according to these laws and that doing so is what makes an action morally right.

Similarly, existentialism places great importance on individual freedom and responsibility. According to this philosophy, individuals have complete control over their own lives and must take ownership of their choices. This means accepting the consequences of those choices and making decisions that align with one’s values and beliefs.

While these may seem like very different approaches, they both share a fundamental belief in personal responsibility. Both Kant’s moral philosophy and existentialism reject the notion that individuals are helpless victims of circumstance or fate. Instead, they emphasize the importance of making deliberate choices and taking full responsibility for one’s own actions.

In addition to this shared focus on individual responsibility, both Kant’s moral philosophy and existentialism also recognize the importance of morality in human life. For Kant, morality is an essential aspect of human nature that allows us to live together in a just society. Existentialists similarly see morality as crucial for navigating the complexities of human existence.

Despite these similarities, there are also some key differences between Kant’s moral philosophy and existentialism. For example, while Kant believed in universal moral laws that apply equally to all individuals, existentialists tend to reject such universal principles as overly restrictive or even oppressive.

Similarly, whereas Kant’s moral philosophy emphasizes the importance of reason and rationality in moral decision-making, existentialists tend to place more emphasis on subjective experience and personal intuition.

In conclusion, while Kant’s moral philosophy and existentialism may seem very different on the surface, they share a fundamental belief in individual responsibility. Both philosophies emphasize the importance of personal agency and autonomy, and both recognize the role that morality plays in human life. By understanding these similarities, we can gain a deeper appreciation for these important philosophical traditions.