Moral Philosophy Crime And Punishment
This report examines the topic of moral philosophy in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, focusing on how the work reflects on many of the moral philosophy theories of Kant, and looking at relations from a close reading of the text. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment considers moral philosophy from many perspectives, but in a different way. In this work, there are no other books being referenced. In other words, it is not a re-make of an old story that already exists, so this level or layer of the irony is missing in Dostoevsky’s work while it is present in some of the works of today.
The moral philosophy is more deep and symbolic in the books, because it involves a different kind of surface. Instead of form being the surface that is revealing the inside, in this book, it is the power of ideas and intellectualism of theory over reality that forms the surface and the comment on the reality underneath. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is just out of university, and he is not a graduate, but a dropout. Raskolnikov is coming out of school being full of the power of new ideas and theories, and anxious to test these theories in real life. He represents the
power of new ideas and new thinking; unfortunately, his theories are not moral and instead run against the grain of society. Raskolnikov is not just challenging society with his new way of thinking, but instead is planning a sort of revolutionary personal action that runs completely contrary to all of society’s moral codes and laws. He wants to turn himself through the power of ideas into a murderer and thief, because he has a personal moral theory that such behavior can be excused when they are done by people who called themselves geniuses, and this a theory which he and his friend Razumikhin share.
It is ironic that Raskolnikov is so full of his theory of living and new thinking that he doesn’t really seem to be clear on how it is going to actually end in reality, in terms of what it is going to do to him as a person and how it is going to affect his fate. This shows the above theme of surface and reality. In terms of how Crime and Punishment relates specifically to some of the moral philosophy of its day, Raskolnikov’s actions can be said to be a true expression of, and statement, about absolutism, and the dangers of moral absolutism.
This absolutism also connotes that the morality cannot be questioned or changed. Kant was informed by many views, including his absolutist views about moral philosophy and its function being universal, which also influenced others of his time, including the Russian author. A sort of truth and knowledge being posited as human universals is present in Kant’s ideas. Moral and political philosophies are bound together in a way that informs contemporary ethics.
When going for this idea of fate and reality, Dostoevsky was informed by sources of moral philosophy that existed in his time. Obviously, this is a story with deep resonance in religious as well as philosophical meanings, in terms of Dostoevsky being exposed to philosophers like Hegal and Kant as well as more conventional modes of time like sensationalism and melodrama. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov, like many protagonists of the conventional novels and diversions of the time, is just out of university, but unlike them, as mentioned above, he is not a graduate.
And one must also consider the key role that Razumikhin’s presence plays in the events as a writer, because this is in essence getting to the source of the moral philosophy of the book. In other words, without expression, the words do not find the right audience and all painstaking plans are lost. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is so full of his theory of living and new thinking that he doesn’t really seem to be clear on how it is going to actually end when morality meets reality, in terms of what it is going to do to him as a person and how it is going to affect his future.
The characters share an ignorance of the real world in favor of theory, which is then challenged in Crime and Punishment by a loss of innocence and a show-up of the tragic fallibility of the power of ideas which seem so applicable theoretically, but which represent nothing but moral relativism in reality. “Why do you care about that? Asked Porfiry ‘Simply from humanity. ’ ‘If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment—as well as the prison. ’ ‘But he real geniuses,’ asked Razumihin frowning, ‘those who have the right to murder?
Oughtn’t they to suffer at all even for the blood they’ve shed? ’…. ‘He will suffer if he is sorry for his victim’” (Dostoevsky). This is a more extreme example in Dostoevsky of the tragedy of the power of ideas, but it is the same basic theme as in any tragedy, even if it is diminished in pathos. This loss of moral innocence and tragic fallibility is shown when Raskolnikov actually commits the double murder and robbery, and finds out that living by theory and ideal actually makes him sick physically and mentally.
He finds out after the grisly murders are a reality, as he says, that he is not a great man or a genius, but a louse (Dostoevsky). This makes him more and more self-destructive. Raskolnikov and Luzhin in Crime and Punishment, in fact, have much the same dynamic as many characters who turn into unlikely partners. “So that’s how it is? Luzhin turned pale and bit his lip. ‘Let me tell you sir, at the first moment I saw you were ill disposed to me, but I remained here on purpose to find out more. I could forgive a great deal in a sick man and a connection but you… never after this’ ‘I am not ill,” cried Raskolnikov.
‘So much the worse. ’ ‘Go to hell! ’” (Dostoevsky). But despite the act of being hard and heartless that both characters share, both Razuhmikin and Raskolnikov show themselves to still be vulnerable to togetherness. It is a different kind of spirit that has different results for both of these characters, though. According to the moral philosophy so central to Crime and Punishment, acting according to absolute moral rules may cause moral conflicts in practice because there is such a gap between theory and reality in this paradigm.
For example, Kant’s theories about will are interesting to apply to Raskolnikov, as he saw a universal human tendency to strive towards the sort of society in which natural reason and rights are met in a process of striving for knowledge and philosophical questioning that results in the formulation of a society in which freedom is essential. Kant also seems to put forth a universal ethos concerning the various differentiations of reason, morality, and ethics which he gives in his writings. Kant is motivated by the question of applied moral philosophy, just as Raskolnikov sort of perverts this idea in a way, in his obsession with murder.
The moral philosophy at work in Crime and Punishment uses emotion and intuition to explain several principles and key points in philosophy. For example, Raskolnikov’s behavior reflects how Kant was a strong supporter of a political entity that was informed by a cosmopolitan society in which the universals, including emotion and intuition, posited in his theories could take full form. He was basically advocating a sort of republicanism that was based on shared ideals of universal ethics and morality which sprang from an essentially natural function in humanity, informed in part by emotion and intuition.
Kant works on a large scale with ideas concerning the ethics and morals. He categorizes explorations of human morality and ethics, and Kant’s examinations of these tenets of human nature are abstracted. Kant works politically with the palette of naturalist ethics and morality Something else that reflects on the moral philosophy of Crime and Punishment in reverse, is the idea of respect for others being very important to deontological theories. Obviously, Raskolnikov’s plans were formed out of a complete lack of respect for the most precious gift, human life.
Regarding this respect, Kant would see the hypothetical situation from a universal moral perspective that would judge the situation less in terms of added and subtracted harm and happiness, but more in terms of each group having rights to respect that may be countered by the actual position, in a policing and correctional context, of the suspect or criminal offender (the murderer Raskolnikov) as someone who has taken over the rights of other individuals in a way that is from this perspective immoral. In making moral choices, Kant contended, human beings treat one another as ends in themselves.
By contrast, the utilitarians, in their most basic form, argued that moral decisions must be judged according to whether they maximize happiness. Kant believed in rational individuality within collective morality, whereas others believed in a historical context rather than an ahistorical context for these naturalistic and scientific ideas. There is a more extreme example in Dostoevsky of the tragedy of the power of ideas, pathos and irony being involved very much in the process. This loss of innocence and tragic fallibility is shown primarily through Raskolnikov. REFERENCE Dostoevsky, F. (1987). Crime and Punishment. New York: Bantam.Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org