Immanuel Kant Categorical Imperative

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In this paper, I will investigate one of Immanuel Kant’s formulations of the categorical imperative – the humanities as ends formulation. In his work, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, he states that the function of reason is to generate a will that is “good in itself”, as opposed to good for other purposes (Marino 194). Kant mentions that reason’s demands could be called “imperatives”. He defines two types of imperatives – the hypothetical imperative and the categorical imperative (Marino 210). The former tells us that a specific action is necessary only as a means to some purpose. The latter implies that some action is necessary in and of itself. The author defines the categorical imperative as a principle that governs…show more content…
He says that the good person has a good will and that will is good not because of its effects, but because of its intention. What intention does the good will have? Kant tells us that our only motive for doing what is right should be simply because it is the right thing to do. We should act in accord with duty or the sake of it. This leads us back to the universal law formulation of the categorical imperative, which states that our actions should be universalized so that people can all benefit from each other. The author gives us several examples of how common notions of duty agree with the universal law formulation of the categorical imperative. Each of these examples has a special meaning to the universal law standard. The first one prohibits lying. In this example, Kant is suggesting that we have a duty to borrow money only if we pay it back. What if we don’t pay it back? The author says, “When I think myself in want of money, I will borrow money and promise to repay it, although I know I never can do so.” (Marino 218), and he poses the question, “How would it be if my maxim were a universal law?” (Marino 218). The answer is simple. If everybody failed to keep their promises, then no one will be loyal to others and we will all live in a world full of lies. The second example that Kant mentions is that it prohibits suicide (Marino 217). The reasoning behind it is straightforward. Clearly there cannot be a universal law standard, if every human being committed suicide. If that happened, the world will be an “empty” place – without human life. The third example that Kant states is that the universal law formulation encourages us to develop our talents – we have a duty to cultivate them (Marino 218). This instance is suggesting that if every person flourishes his/her talents, then everybody would benefit from one another making this a universal good. The final example that the author talks about is
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