analysis of Kant's Categorical Imperative

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Analysis of Kant’s Categorical Imperative in Metaphysics

Grounding for the metaphysics of morals is a foundation of Kant’s philosophy, in this book, Kant wants to build up a moral kingdom of metaphysical. At first, Kant extracted categorical imperative from the concepts of goodness, will and obligation and enacted some rational principles, then, he plans to map out moral metaphysic through categorical imperative. However, he failed to do so owing to that his theory is founded on purely idealism. Mistakes in categorical imperative reveal the inherent contradiction of Kant's theory of motivation. Therefore, from the perspective of categorical imperative and its content and logic, we can better understand Kant's moral thoughts.

I. Categorical imperative and its testimony

Categorical imperative is a basic concept in Grounding for the metaphysics of morals. Yet, what does categorical imperative mean by Kant? In Kant's opinion, everything in nature works according to laws. Rational beings alone have the faculty of acting according to the conception of laws, which also means according to principles. In other words, the conception of an objective principle, in so far as it is obligatory for a will, is called a command (of reason), and the formula of the command is called an imperative. Kant divided imperatives into hypothetical imperative and categorical imperative. “All imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. The former represented the practical necessity of a possible action as means for attaining something else that one wants (or possibly want). The categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as necessary in itself, without reference to another end” (Kant 228). By saying these, Kant tells us...

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... unreasonable. While the motivation is a combination of actor's will, hobby, interest, emotion, faith and ideal. In Grounding for the metaphysics of morals, Kant thinks the motivations of hobby and interest are stem from anticipation to the achievement without any motivation of obligation, where only will and faith left. However, the pure motivation cannot be applied to explain the impetus of ethics behavior. Therefore, Kant has to bring into the emotional which is formerly ruled out of ethics metaphysics in order to make a better explanation. Kant makes a gap between experience and ration, and he tries to bridge it by means of confining the experience to ration and testifying it by experience. However, he failed. This is not only a problem that Kant needs to settle, but all the thinkers' first issue which needs solving for a construction of Pure Motivation Theory.