Kant 's Categorical Imperative Of Moral Value Essay

Kant 's Categorical Imperative Of Moral Value Essay

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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.
One formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative instructs us to act only in such a way that “I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.” Before going into the formulation, a maxim for Kant is just not a rule for how to act but a middle stage between experience and the categorical imperative (Lynne, PPTX). Kant describes this as the "subjective rule", that is, a rule that is deliberated at the subjective level. Consider a case of human interaction, in which one has to decide his behavior in the form, “X does such an action to Y”. We may ask the moral question “should X do such an action to Y?” According to Kant, X response cannot derive from desire or pleasure but rather give a deliberate and functional account of his situation to Y. Both X and Y then try to work out a universal rule of...


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...serves Kant’s view of the nature of morality.
In Kant’s view, an action is either good or bad. Many scholars have found it troubling that actions such as lying or killing can have its moral value distinguish in different circumstances. These include self-defense or the example of lying to the Nazis to protect those who are being persecuted. Significantly, Kant’s morality exist in a black and white. There is no “greyish area” for actions to be place in and be use both ways of moral and immoral. From this, subjective opinions of morality is then flaw and can be undermined. Kant’s objective proposal is precise because an action cannot have two properties of moral and immoral and “fluctuate” between the two. This would not seem rational. For if we were to forbid killing in one day and allow killing the next day, how can we figure out what is require of us to do morally?

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