Kant largely focused on Categorical Imperative and had said “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” Kant saw the later as somewhat of a moral compass. Kant suggested to people if they were unsure if something was moral or not, to ask themselves what rule they would be following if they did, and they could then determine their
The categorical imperative is an idea used to redefine ideas of morality (Kant 30). Morality is a priori; it is what we ought to do or ought not to do regarding an action (Hromas). "We know killing is wrong so we ought not to do it; we know this without experience" (Hromas). Morality is when everyone follows moral actions in agreement with the moral law and an action is not performed with a desire to feel a certain way (Kant’s Ethics). Immorality is when everyone follows the law except for one person (Hromas). Kant provides the example of a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper is to keep a fixed price for everyone so that the inexperienced shoppers do not get taken advantage of, such as a child (Kant 13). However, this action was done by the shopkeeper "for a self-interested purpose" (Kant 13). If the shop keeper did not keep a fixed price for everyone then word would spread about his not being fair to all customers and therefore no one will go into his store and he will go out of business. Another example is a street vendor in New York City. I am given a hotdog by a street vendor and am told it cost three dollars, but I only have one dollar and the vendor still sells me the hotdog for one dollar. A woman behind me asks for a hotdog and the vendor charges her three dollars. This vendor is not being fair to all of his customers because the woman and I both bought the same item but paid different amounts. I will come back to this street vendor but I am sure the woman will not. The vendor sold me the hotdog for one dollar because he wanted to receive some kind of payment for the food already in my hand and thus it was in his best interest to receive less
In the previous mentioned dilemma, in order to save lives, murder must be committed. What ever that person decides to do will contradict the person’s desire to do a good deed. Despite his actions being pure his will to do good was not met, which is not a good thing. In the term of the law of universals, you must do act according to maxims that could become universal laws. You cannot commit murder, because you wouldn’t want murder to become a universal law. It would be immoral for everyone to go around murdering others; life would be worthless and invaluable. You also cannot save the live of those in need of saving. If everyone disregarded the need for saving others, such as fireman, police, paramedics, then life would also lose its value, because someone’s life is no longer worthy enough to be saved. Good will cannot be unconditionally good if it violates Kant’s own law of
Kantianism is named after a German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who lived in 1724-1804. According to Kant, the only thing that is good is good will; moreover, the good will builds the whole structure of the society. Kantianism is based on the intent of the action or person’s intention which are the predominant attributes of the good will. The basic principle of Kantianism theory depicts the idea of universal truths. It explains that a moral rule must be universal. Also, it describes that people should be treated with respect. Moreover, it explains the credibility of an action why it is right or wrong and convinces the user with logical reasons. Kant proposed the Categorical Imperative, which describes a set up to explain, “What makes a moral rule appropriate?” One version of the Categorical Imperative states that it is wrong for a person to use himself or another person uniquely as a means to an end. Most of the time it is easier to use the second version of the Categorical Imperative to analyze a moral problem from a Kantian point of view. For example, in the case of Jean, misusing the responsibilities of someone else’s duty. It was wrong for Jean to treat the profession of the doctor as a means to an end. Jean deceived the profession of the doctors with the goal of getting benefit to save his nephew. It was wrong for jean to misuse his responsibilities rather than to think that he can find a way to look for a doctor. We can also look at this scenario using the first version of the Categorical Imperative. Jean wanted to save his nephew Pierre. A proposed moral rule might be, “Take a decision in his hands to save his nephew.” However, if everyone followed the same rule, it will diminish the sense of duty, responsibility, and the respect of the profession. If everyone will act the same way in this type of situation and try to misuse his or her professional responsibilities, then there will
In Ethics Kant described his ethical system, which is based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for suitability or merely in compliance to law or custom can be regarded as ethical. Kant described two types of commands given by reason. The first was hypothetical imperative, which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end, and the categorical imperative, which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. The categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant as "Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through
Kant starts by explaining the three divisions of philosophy which are: physics, ethics, and logic. He clarifies that physics and ethics are a posteriori while logic is, a priori, but there is a third variable that interacts both which is also the foundation of morals. This is the categorical imperative or also known as the synthetic a priori. The categorical imperative or the moral law is the reason of individuals’ actions. Kant goes on to say “I should never except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law” (Immanuel Kant, Page14 (line 407-408)). This indicates that an individual should not do anything that is not their own laws or rules that cannot become universal to all individuals. Throughout the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant defines what categorical imperative is, but also its four distinct articulations.
Human beings are tempted. One is generally in a conflict between the realm or morality and immorality. At times, one disregards reason as the intended result was not what one wanted. One can conclude that reason is justified in situations where one expects to be treated morally and will treat others morally. Essentially, Kant expects all human beings to be able to reason. Reason is the justification to morality. One who reasons asserts the beliefs of morality. One can conclude that reason is absolute. Immorality is based on one’s personal desires. Reason cannot be coincided with immorality, since each party is not treated morally. Reason is universal, since each individual expects to be treated morally and will treat others morally. It is applicable to all entities. The Categorical Imperative establishes the ideal that one should act from maxims that are universalized. This ideal leads to the Formula of Humanity; individuals of morality seek to live under the law in which one’s self-worth is protected. One should act from maxims in which order is applicable to
Another, more obvious problem with the first step of the categorical imperative is the black and white nature of the world in Kant’s opinion. He simplifies morality to an extreme extent with no room for argument. For example, Kant believes that suicide is wrong, no matter what, because if this became a universal law, “one [would see] at once a contradiction in a system of nature whose law would destroy life by means of the very same feeling that acts so as to stimulate the furtherance of life, and hence there could be no existence as a system of nature” (Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 31). However, suppose there is a case in which a rich person has an abundance of food, and a poor person, on the brink of death from starvation, has none. Is it truly morally wrong for that person to take food? Can it really be said that this person has done a bad thing, when it is in the pursuit of survival, and comes at the cost of no one? In Kant’s opinion, yes, this man has had a moral failing, and I therefore argue that Kant has changed the makeup of what morality is, inventing his own rules for what is ethical without regard for the thoughts and opinions of other people in different situations from his own. Kant seems to deny the possibility of alternate viewpoints, and that some situations are much more difficult to deal with morally than others, such as in the case of the greater
The second act of Kant’s categorical imperative pertains to how we treat others. According to Kant, we must “Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an
First, Universal Law. Can everyone in the world test on animals without a logical contradiction? Well, if you test on all animals, it could have substantial effects on reproduction rate among these species. Some animals could very well go extinct if every one was test on. So, the first part of the categorical imperative fails, because if you run out of test subjects, that act is no longer Universal Law. However, the second part passes. Animals are not considered humanity, so you can use them as a means to an end as much as you desire. It passes the third principle in the same way. Animals don’t have practical reason, so you can’t restrict their practical reason. But since one of the principles fail, the categorical imperative itself fails, so Kant would view it as immoral if acted
Kant’s theory argues that the moral worth of an action is to be judged not by its consequences but the nature of the maxim or principle that motivated the action. He states the right actions are not necessarily those with favorable consequences but those performed with accordance with correct maxims. Kant also defines the correct maxims are the ones that can serve as universal laws (79). According to Kant there is a formula for the “Unversal Law,” First we wold have to figure out the general principle we would be actin on. We can use his example of borrowing money knowing you can pay it back. In order for us to universalize the maxim we must think if everyone were in “X” situation they would all do “Y.” So if everyone needed to borrow money knowing they could not pay it back they would then like and make a false promise. So this cold not be a universal law because if everyone started making false promises a promise would mean nothing and would only be using someone as a means. Kant also discusses categorical imperative and hypothetical imperative; categorical imperative is an unconditional moral law that applies to all rational beings and independent of any personal motive or law “to act for the state of duty”(81). One objection to Kants theory would be that duties that resul...
Emmanuel Kant was a influential philosopher and strong proponent of the modern era. Besides his large contribution to epistemology and metaphysics, his work in ethics was just as substantial. Kant’s ethics came to propose an objective morality, where moral judgments is not only true according to a person 's subjective view. He believed the moral worth of an action is not determined by its consequence but the motive behind it. Additionally, the “only motive that can endow an act with moral value, is one that arises from universal principles discovered by reason” (McCormick). Through Kant’s ethics, he demonstrates this duty through his unconditional moral principle, the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative expresses that morality is not about the outcome (good or bad), but the right action regardless of the outcome. It is the responsibility to do one 's duty for its own sake and not in pursuit of one’s own desire.
Kantian Ethics focuses on duties, rights, obligations, or principles. Kant’s categorical imperative states that we should act as if what action we decide would become universal law. The difficult part is determining whose duties and rights to abide by. Examining duty to the employer, duty to friendship, and duty to self is vital.
Kant gives example situations to demonstrate the application of the categorical imperative. One illustration defines a man who sees somebody in need but failures to help. Kant says this situation would not be moral. Not on the grounds of a wrong committed against the other person, but because this cannot be applied universally. Kant says that sooner or later we will all help, and if the maxim were applied categorically, we would be deprived of the help we required. Since actions are only seen as wrong if they cannot be applied categorically and not because they are wrong, result in harm to somebody, or violate their rights. This could lead to a society that believes helping anyone in a time of need would be considered damaging to the continuing
Kant first wishes to provide a distinction between person and things, and this distinction is the basis for the second formulation of the categorical imperative. Moral worth determines the motive behind the action; Kant uses this to formulate the categorical imperative. Using others is not morally correct and adds up to no moral worth. Kant does not claim that using a person as mean is incorrect, but using the person merely as means is wrong. Kant also states that “rational nature exists as an