Kingdom of Ends

There is something in human beings that limits their being frank. It is an obstacle which makes someone keep some thoughts private even when they are involved in intimate relationships. This is because people have the fear that making complete revelations about themselves earns them despise from others. According to the believe of the kingdom of ends, failure to be that completely frank does not mean that one is dishonest.

It only implies that the person does not want to be despised by others and thus should keep some thoughts to themselves. A person who is honest tells the truth but not the whole of it. On the other hand, a dishonest person says what they know is not true. This implies that they intentionally lie and this can be for their own gains.

Telling a lie and not telling the truth are two distinct things. Therefore, the knowledge of this led to Herbert having a problem in deciding on whether to tell a lie or not to tell the truth. The kingdom of ends cites that there is the “attractive ideal of human relations.’ for instance, people can lie to protect their human relations. For instance an example is given of being torn between choosing to lie to a murderer and a protect their friend or to tell the truth to the murderer that the friend is in their house. Though it might be seen as morally wrong, one may lie to the murderer to protect their friend.

This is what may be seen as troubling Herbert. She has the choice to lie to her friend so as to maintain their relationship or tell the truth with the fear of being rejected.Human beings take responsibility for each other. The relationships that human beings exhibit are interactive. Human beings are rational beings. In themselves, they are ends and beings with a dignity. Thus, one has to respect their dignity. This then means that they will act in consistence with their dignity. However, this morality is not exercised towards every person. It depends on the way that they act towards you too. To choose to lie or not may affect the dignity of a person. If Herbert’s friend had acted well towards her, then the dilemma is whether to preserve the dignity or not.

There are two different attitudes that people exhibit. These are being objective and interactive. Though these are opposing attitudes, they do not rule out one another. Sometimes, the stand of being interactive can become exhausting and thus resulting to people becoming objective. They will thus see others in a similar way to things. For example, one can observe people as they do to the planets. According to Kant, when one treats other people as a means for example by preventing them from making a choice of if they should contribute towards the realization of the end is like violating duty.

Deceiving someone is like making them a thing. However, deceiving is different from telling a lie. To deceive someone, one does not have to tell a lie.According to Kant, failure to tell the truth can be a duty. For instance, if telling the truth undermines people’s respect, then it is better not to. Therefore, it may been a duty for Herbert not to tell the truth as well. What Herbert failed to do was to treat her friend as an end. She treated him as a thing thus he did not initiate his action. Therefore, one can conclude that Herbert’s friend did not choose the action to perform. People have a friendship duty.

Every person has a responsibility towards friendship. As friends, people share thoughts and plans. Though Kant says that people should ‘lock up’ their thoughts, in friendship, people should reveal their thoughts to one another without being afraid of betrayal. Thus, this may have caused dilemma in Herbert. She may have thought of locking up her thoughts. On the contrary, she may have also thought of revealing her thoughts to her friend and expect not to be betrayed.Herbert feels a strong desire to act morally. People find that life would end soon.

This is why Herbert feels the desire to act morally with the expectance that the next life would not have such morality demands. Telling the truth is a moral act. Since she expects it to be something that she needs to do on this life only, then she has the choice to tell the truth. However, she is also afraid of the consequences. The moral worth of an action is when that action is performed as a duty. Thus, the morality of telling the truth is also a duty. Therefore, for Herbert to choose to tell the truth or lie was a duty which can either be performed one way or the other.


Langton, R. (1992). Duty and Desolation. Retrieved on March 24, 2011 from:

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