Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative Theory

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Nonconsequentialism came from the work of Immanuel Kant, who is known to be the founder of critical philosophy. Markham (2007) described Kant as ‘the giant in philosophy’. Through his research and work, Immanuel Kant labelled himself a deontologist. According to Markham (2007), a deontologist is ‘a person who recognises that there are absolute moral prohibitions that must be applied consistently to all situations’. Different from consequentialism, people who tend to have the mind set of a deontologist believe that you should do your ethical duty, regardless of the outcome. Immanuel Kant designed ‘The Categorical Imperative’ theory which was associated with the fact that it was commanding us to practice our morals and desires in a specific way which was exercised through two rules. Kamm (2000) claims that these components were to ‘(1) treat persons as ends in themselves and (2) do not treat them as mere means’. Kamm is basically suggesting that we seek happiness of others, as that is morally right, however fulfill capacities of one’s own intellect. From following both of these we arrive at an imperative and it is categorical. Kant also discussed the importance of perfect and imperfect duties in relation to good morality between humans. He suggested that although we have ‘moral leeway’ in how or when we perform imperfect duties, we must ensure that we always succeed in carrying out perfect duties: ‘they must be done’ as negative duties are ‘more stringent’ than positive duties (Kamm,…show more content…
When discussing whether consequentialism and deontology are tenable, I have reason to believe that they can both be justified and implemented in certain situations in order to achieve the best outcome: whether this be happiness, utility, or moral judgment. For a consequentialist, ‘happiness is conceived of as the ultimate good’ (Hospers, 1997) however the language of morality is perceived as deontological. Regardless of the situation there is always an ethical axiom which is ‘killing innocent people is wrong’ (Markham, 2007). With both of these views exercised every day, we are faced with many possibilities, leading to problems and opportunities. Nevertheless, if we didn’t have both views, the world would be a very different place as we know it to be now and people would not be faced with the same opportunities. Therefore, through analysing how the views of consequentialists differ from that of deontologists, I personally believe that both views are crucial to humankind and perfectly
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