The Origin and Source of Wrongdoing: Augustine’s and Kant’s Views

1. Augustine’s view of sin

Augustine of Hippo was a Christian theologian and philosopher from the African country of Algeria. He is well-known for his writings on the topic of sin, which include the books “Confessions” and “City of God”. In these works, Augustine argues that sin is not a bad thing, but rather a natural part of human nature. This view was controversial at the time, as many people believed that sin was a sign of weakness or evil. However, Augustine argued that sin is not an indication of weakness, but rather a necessary part of human nature. He believed that humans are born with a tendency to sin, and that this tendency is what makes us human. Without it, we would be nothing more than animals.

While Augustine’s view of sin may seem controversial, it does have some merit. For one, it allows for humans to be forgiven for their sins. If sin is simply a natural part of human nature, then it is not something that we can help. It is not our fault that we sin, and so we should not be held accountable for it. Additionally, Augustine’s view of sin helps to explain why we often do things that are bad for us. If we did not have the tendency to sin, we would never do anything that was harmful to ourselves or others. However, because we are born with the tendency to sin, we sometimes do things that are harmful to ourselves or others. This does not mean that we are evil people; it simply means that we are human.

2. Kant’s view of the origin and source of wrongdoing

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who lived in the 18th century. He is best known for his work on ethics, which includes the book “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals”. In this work, Kant argues that the only way to determine whether something is good or evil is through the adoption of the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative is an ethical theory that states that an action is only morally right if it can be willed as a universal law. In other words, an action is only morally right if everyone could reasonably will it as a universal law.

Kant’s view of morality has several implications for the origin and source of wrongdoing. First, Kant believes that there is no such thing as objective Good or Evil. That is to say, there is no Good or Evil independent of our own wills or desires. Rather, what we consider to be Good or Evil is determined by our own subjective preferences and desires. Second, because there is no objective Good or Evil, there can be no objective source of wrongdoing. That is, there can be no source of wrongdoing that exists independently of our own wills or desires. Third, because there can be no objective source of wrongdoing, all wrongdoing must ultimately originate from our own wills or desires. We may not always be aware of it, but every time we commit an act of wrongdoing, we do so because we have chosen to do so. We may not always be conscious of our choices, but they are nonetheless ours to make.

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, both Augustine’s and Kant’s views on the origin and source of wrongdoing have their merits and drawbacks. Augustine’s view excusing humans from accountability for their sins has the benefit of allowing for forgiveness, but it also has the


Augustine and Kant both believe that the origin of wrongdoing lies within humans. For Augustine, it is a result of our sinful nature, while for Kant it is due to our choices and actions.

These views differ in that Augustine believes that our sinful nature is the cause of wrongdoing, while Kant believes that it is our choices and actions that lead to wrongdoing.

The implications of these views are different for our understanding of human nature. If Augustine's view is correct, then human nature is essentially bad and prone to sinfulness. However, if Kant's view is true, then human nature is good but can be led astray by bad choices.

I think Kant's view is more persuasive because it allows for the possibility that humans can choose not to do wrong even if they have the potential to do so. This view also seems to fit better with our personal experiences, as we often see people make bad choices even though they know they shouldn't.

Our personal experiences can inform our understanding of this issue in a number of ways. For example, if we have ever made a bad choice even though we knew it was wrong, then this experience might lead us to believe that Kant's view is more accurate. Alternatively, if we have seen others make bad choices and suffer the consequences, then this could lead us to believe that Augustine's view is more accurate.