What is a categorical imperative? Why should one obey a categorical imperative? One main aspect of Immanuel Kant’s Deontological ethics is the philosophy of the categorical imperative. As he explained, the understanding behind the categorical imperative is that, in order for an individual to have moral worth, he must do his duty. In the book, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant argues that the general concept of morality is divided into two rules of reason.
It is this theory which had the greatest impact in the philosophical discipline of morality. Kant established this theory based on his conviction that morality arises from rationality, meaning that all moral decisions are rationally supported. This is effective because it makes the categorical imperative unshakable by eliminating any grey areas. The categorical imperative can be broken down into two simple to digest maxims or categories. The first of these maxims is the maxim of universality.
In everyday life we make decisions, which in some way affect those around us, but should those decisions benefit us as an individual, or should they benefit the “greater good”? Utilitarianism, based on utility, states that we should, in fact, act for the greater good of the greater majority, rather than what we consider to be best for ourselves. The ethical theory of Utilitarianism was proposed by John Stuart Mills from a qualitative hedonistic view which states that there is only “one foundational good” (Burnor and Raley). Because Utilitarianism states that there is only one right moral standard, it falls under the view of Objectivism, in which there is only one universal moral standard. According to Utilitarianism, Popular Relativism
⦁ Define the terms “categorical and “imperative.” Categorical means absollute for exmple, if someone asks you if you are hungry a you say,"no", that means you are absolutely denying being hungry. Imperattive meas to demand or tell someone what to do for example, "Don 't answer the phone", you are demanding someone not to answer the phone. ⦁ What is Kant’s “categorical imperative”? Explain what Kant means by the humanity and universal law versions of his categorical imperative. According to Sandel’s lecture which type of moral reasoning does Kant use?
Regarding to the numbers of Categorical Imperative, many Kantians make the response, for example, Nuyen supports the most widely accepted Paton’s view: there are five or more formulations. In my thesis, I will mainly analyze three main formulations and talk about formulation of autonomy in the last chapter. See A. T. Nuyen Counting the Formulas of the Categorical Imperative: One Plus Three Makes Four of formulation Like the challenge raised by Benjamin Constant in 1797, Kant responded in a short essay On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy. Constant’s charge is basically around Kant’s moral principle ‘duty to tell the truth’ would, if taken unconditionally and singly, make any society impossible. The further discussion on Kant’s standpoint and strategy please see Helga Varden’s discussion on the case of Kant and Lying to the Murderer at the Door in Kant 's Legal Philosophy and Lies to Murderers and Nazis.
Humans give more thought to their everyday activities. It allows humans to make certain decisions based on their experiences and trying to know the outcome by committing a certain action. The third theory shows that goodwill and good intention is important to have, but it doesn’t matter of the outcome. The hypothetical imperative creates an idea of how to treat people, while categorical imperatives try to establish something that majority of the world population would follow. Kant knows that reason drives to people to commit certain actions and how order is established in
Kant provides a definition of the categorical imperative, “ A categorical imperative would be one that represented an action as itself objectively necessary, without regard to any further end” (Kant 337). In other words, a categorical imperative is a moral law that absolute in any test or situation, and does not depend on the end result or an ulterior motive. The Formula of Universal Law depends on the reasoning, “ Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant 330). This means that whatever your action is, it would be recast to apply to everyone.In this case the maxim is the rationality for doing an action, which has a end goal.A universal law means that everyone would behave the same way if your maxim was applied. Therefore, if your maxim could pass as a universal law then your action is moral, i.e., done out of duty.
Firstly, Kant’s ethics of duty is defined by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Kant, I method to ethics is to shed lights on what humans are capable of doing which is necessarily our motives and intentions, we cannot be entirely responsible for our actions because it might be effected by accidental circumstances. However, the action is right and good only if the person doing it is motivated by ‘good will’ which applies to the actions done for reasons of principle or sense of duty, not self-interest, sympathy or kindness. Furthermore, Kant’s categorical imperative is the best known expression of his ethical approach, it applies to a
Kant’s first formulation of the CI is also named universalizability, all moral maxims must be universalizable. According to Kant, it is not rational to choose a world in which you cannot will the maxim of your action to be a universal law. This is where CI (moral maxims apply to everyone, for example, if you expect other people to keep their promises, then you are obligated to keep your own promises) are different from merely hypothetical ones which command conditionally on your having a relevant desire, the example would be an ‘ought’ statement of the form, ‘if you want A, then you ought to do B’. This is a hypothetical imperative, such as ‘Jack sees a cake, Jack ought not to eat it, as it is a means to keep healthy’. Such thinking appeals to our rationality and can be found in every major world religion most typically summarized in ‘The Golden Rule’ – treat other people as you want to be treated.
Categorical Imperative and Duties Kant divides duties into two groups- duties towards others and duties towards self. They are further subdivided into strict and meritorious duties. Lets consider these duties one by one in light of Categorical Imperative. Strict Duties to others : Consider a person is in need of money. He has no other option left except to borrow it from someone else.