Kant's Formula Of Universal Law

1969 Words8 Pages

Kant and the Lying Promise In “Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals”, Kant explores the subject of duty and the binding force of morality. Kant explores the morality of among many cases, this paper being focused particularly on the case of the lying promise. To determine the morality of such action, Kant provides the Formula of Universal Law, which relies on a maxim passing four steps in order to be considered moral. First, I will explain the Formula of Universal Law and focus on the ethical position of duty belonging to Kant’s deontological ethics. Next, I’ll present Kant’s lying promise case and will analyze his explanation of it being immoral through the Formula of Universal Law. Finally, I’ll end by stating my disagreement with Kant’s …show more content…

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. The Formula of Universal Law requires a four-step test to determine the morality of the maxim. The first test is to create a maxim for your intended action. The second test is to apply that maxim as if it would be a law of nature governing all rational beings. The third step is to question the effectiveness or conceivability of a world where your maxim is universal. If the maxim passes the third step then it continues to the fourth step. The fourth step is to question if you could rationally will to act on that maxim if such a world were to exist. Overall, the purpose of the Formula of Universal Law is to determine whether a maxim is

Open Document