A look at categorical imperative as a method of determining morality of actions

While the example of suicide is similar, it is much weaker and does not produce a genuine contradiction. And insofar as humanity is a positive end in others, I must attempt to further their ends as well.

That is its only function. For an end to be objective, it would be necessary that we categorically pursue it.

kant good will

He does not try to make out what shape a good character has and then draw conclusions about how we ought to act on that basis. The Categorical Imperative is universal and impartial -- universal because all people, in virtue of being rational, would act in precisely the same way, and impartial because their actions are not guided by their own biases, but because they respect the dignity and autonomy of every human being and do not put their own personal ambitions above the respect that others deserve.

Throughout his moral works, Kant returns time and again to the question of the method moral philosophy should employ when pursuing these aims. Even the taking of human life could be justified under certain circumstances. This appears to say that moral rightness is not a function of the value of intended or actual outcomes.

The only true guideline is human reason, and an enlightened person will follow his or her reason rather than the arbitrary edicts of self-proclaimed authorities. For example, the question may be about preserving the State from disaster by betraying a person who stands towards another in a relation, such as that of father and son [i.

By contrast, the second imperative does not depend on whether you have some desire.

What is the categorical imperative according to kant

One is found in his discussion of the Humanity Formula. If I see an accident victim alongside the road, I can choose to either help that person or not. Application of the universalizability principle to the ethics of consumption[ edit ] Pope Francis , in his encyclical , applies the first formulation of the universalizability principle to the issue of consumption: Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. We would expect any adequate moral theory to condemn this action. While this may sound good in the abstract, it is difficult to detect contradictions within concrete actions that we know are contradictory. By contrast, Mill believed that our moral obligations spring only from considerations of how our actions affect human happiness. The observable world could never contain an example of freedom because it would never show us a will as it appears to itself, but only a will that is subject to natural laws imposed on it. Secondly, Kant remarks that free will is inherently unknowable.

This is, firstly, the concept of a will that does not operate through the influence of factors outside of this responsiveness to apparent reasons. Moreover, the disposition is to overcome obstacles to moral behavior that Kant thought were ineradicable features of human nature. The man asks himself how the universality of such a thing works.

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Kant’s Moral Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)