Reason & Morality - Kant vs LLMs

Reason & Morality - Kant vs LLMs


2 min read

So if For Immanuel Kant,

"morality is not defined by the consequences of our actions, our emotions, or an external factor but Morality is defined by duties and one's action is moral if it is an act motivated by duty."

is the following correct,

"LLMs are incredibly intelligent tools for processing information and hence LLMs can be trained to identify patterns in moral arguments or respond in ways that seem morally sound. However, this doesn't mean they truly understand the concepts they're using.

Meaning that as much as they appear to be morally reasonable they are not!"


  • Applying Ethical Principles: Moral reasoning does involve applying ethical principles – a framework for right and wrong.

  • Context and Impact: Understanding the context (situation) and potential consequences of actions is crucial for moral judgment.

  • LLMs' Struggle: Current LLMs struggle with these aspects of moral reasoning.

Kantian twist:

  • Consequences vs. Duty: For Kant, morality wasn't primarily about consequences. It was about acting out of duty, even if the consequences weren't ideal. However, a Kantian wouldn't completely ignore consequences – they'd factor them in while prioritizing their duty.

Incorporating the Kantian perspective:

Moral Reasoning: This involves applying ethical principles to situations and making judgments about right and wrong. It requires an understanding of the context, potential consequences, and the impact on others, while prioritizing acting out of duty even if the consequences differ from what's desired. This is where LLMs struggle.