The Categorical Imperative: A Philosophical Theory

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Categorical Imperative is a philosophical theory was developed by Kant in 1785. If someone does not know what is categorical imperative means, the term imperative in my own words means that you should do something. If you put the the two terms together, categorical imperative means that an unconditional moral obligation that is binding in all circumstances and is not dependent on a person 's purpose.Basically, The Categorical Imperative is something that one should do, but not because it will benefit you in this way. One should do it because it is the morally right thing to do. In other words, you are not doing a good thing for your own self interest, but because you know it is morally right. This is also known as goodwill. In the article that…show more content…
In simple terms, this means that one can only call something morally just. If it is able to be turned into a universal maxim, on which everybody should uphold in a similar situation. In Harrison, he provide a Kant example. The example claims, “If you make a promise with no intention of keeping it, then it is only morally just if it can be applied to everyone”. This would mean that everyone who tells a promise would have no intention of keeping it. This would make promises pointless, as no one would keep them and there would be no reason for them. He uses this to argue that the maxim of making a promise with no intention of keeping it is not a maxim at all, because it would not work in society. Kant finds maxims very important as he believes that they are the main basis of ‘good will’. If there was no maxims, then there would be no universal morality in which we could uphold. Although Kant says this, he still stresses the importance of free will. Even if something is a Categorical imperative or a universal maxim, he says it is not forceful to follow it through and that we are free whether or not to do the morally right…show more content…
If the world did not have goodwill, then one may argue that no good can exist. Because people would not be willing to do good things unless for their own purposes. Harrison claims that,“A Kantian follower would say that the maxims are important because it gives us all a foundation for the differences between being morally good or bad”. If one can do an action in some sort that can be put into a universal maxim. Therefore, you are acting ethically. Although, if your action consists without a universal maxim, then your actions are not ethically correct. The reason behind this due to that practical reason has a value. However, people who disagree with the Categorical Imperative and the three basic forms. Harrison claims that these people are, “following Utilitarianism instead, which follows consequentialism”. It is the contrast to the Categorical Imperative. Utilitarianism has its starting point with the result. They consider something as morally good if a good result comes out of it, but if there is a bad consequence, then they consider it morally wrong. This places more development in the ends than it does the means. A Utilitarianist places the welfare and happiness of human beings above all else, whereas Kant does not. He says that ‘good will’ is the prime factor and that being happy is just a bonus. He would argue that
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