In order to be a rational being, one must be an agent of free will. Free will is exercised by acting for a reason, which transcends a simple cause in that it not only explains, but also justifies the actions to be taken to fulfill a particular end. Reason, at the heart of agency, is also essential in what Kant refers to as a “maxim”: one’s reason for acting, or what exactly they are trying to accomplish. The Categorical Imperative ultimately aims to universalize certain maxims that are morally based, effectively allowing us to evaluate actions within a moral framework.
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...’s first two formulations provide helpful instruction for the regulation and universalization of moral law, it appears that the strict and seemingly concrete guidelines by which both perfect and imperfect duties operate is far more convoluted than initially agreed upon. Furthermore, Kant’s maxim of “do not kill” as a perfect duty lacks reinforcement or consideration of circumstances such as “an eye for an eye”, where one kill or at least harm another individual on a revenge basis. Though Kant ideally believes that certain maxims are capable of escaping subjectivity, many perfect duties he suggests would fare better if considered imperfect duties, such as his maxim “do not lie”. Conclusively, while Kant’s Categorical Imperative provides useful guidelines for maintaining consistency of morality among most rational beings, it does not maintain consistency among itself.
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