Kants categorical argument essay

Here, Kant was telling us that we should value every individual and not use anybody to gain something else; he believed that the end can never justify the means. Second, possessing and maintaining a steadfast commitment to moral principles is the very condition under which anything else is worth having or pursuing. This was a shock and required me to make a split second decision. This is, however, an implausible view. Intuitively, there seems something wrong with treating human beings as mere instruments with no value beyond this. First, he makes a plethora of statements about outcomes and character traits that appear to imply an outright rejection of both forms of teleology. A moral act is an act done for the "right" reasons. Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral so you might as well not make the promise. But this very intuitiveness can also invite misunderstandings.

By contrast, the value of all other desirable qualities, such as courage or cleverness, can be diminished, forgone, or sacrificed under certain circumstances: Courage may be laid aside if it requires injustice, and it is better not to be witty if it requires cruelty.

Given that, insofar as we are rational, we must will to develop capacities, it is by this very fact irrational not to do so.

categorical imperative essay

He believed that there were general rules which must be adhered to in every circumstance We now need to know what distinguishes the principle that lays down our duties from these other motivating principles, and so makes motivation by it the source of unqualified value.

According to Kant, good will does not need any qualification to give it the label of good He does not try to make out what shape a good character has and then draw conclusions about how we ought to act on that basis. Arguments such as the unethical misuse of medical practice by physicians, who swear an oath to do everything in their power to save the lives of the people they care for, while using their expertise on an individual for an execution.

Kant pursues this project through the first two chapters of the Groundwork. If someone does not know what is categorical imperative means, the term imperative in my own words means that you should do something. In addition, Kant thought that moral philosophy should characterize and explain the demands that morality makes on human psychology and forms of human social interaction. Some of the characters we have studied exhibit both sides of this question. Kant says you should always aim to help others, but not at the expense of self-destruction or harm of another person. Having a good will, in this sense, is compatible with having feelings and emotions of various kinds, and even with aiming to cultivate some of them in order to counteract desires and inclinations that tempt us to immorality. This sounds very similar to the first formulation. Indeed, Cummiskey argues that they must be: Respect for the value of humanity entails treating the interests of each as counting for one and one only, and hence for always acting to produce the best overall outcome. Despite all three political philosophers writing about Classical Liberalism, one makes the most convincing argument. If the CI actually is universal in this sense, it fulfills one of the major traits necessary for a moral principle Pojman 7. Through all of this Maggie gained freedom, personhood, and experience. An end in this sense guides my actions in that once I will to produce something, I then deliberate about and aim to pursue means of producing it if I am rational. This was a shock and required me to make a split second decision.

An end in this sense guides my actions in that once I will to produce something, I then deliberate about and aim to pursue means of producing it if I am rational.

First, unlike anything else, there is no conceivable circumstance in which we regard our own moral goodness as worth forfeiting simply in order to obtain some desirable object. How to cite this page Choose cite format:.

In other words, the categorical imperative does not have some kind of hidden agenda for the person carrying out the action. He believed that consequences were no guide to whether an action was moral or not. Within his formulations, Kant stresses the importance of universalism, equality, and Categorical Imperatives versus Hypothetical Imperatives Before delving into the different formulations of the categorical imperative, Kant must distinguish between categorical imperatives and hypothetical impera Basic moral requirements retain their reason-giving force under any circumstance, they have universal validity. Although Kant gives several examples in the Groundwork that illustrate this principle, he goes on to describe in later writings, especially in The Metaphysics of Morals, a complicated normative ethical theory for interpreting and applying the CI to human persons in the natural world. Take the cannoli. He defines categorical imperatives as rules that must be followed regardless of external circumstances, and that have content that is sufficient enough in and of itself to provide an agent with reason to act in a certain way. We cannot do so, because our own happiness is the very end contained in the maxim of giving ourselves over to pleasure rather than self-development. We do not have the capacity to aim to act on an immoral maxim because the will is identified with practical reason, so when we will to perform an immoral act, we implicitly but mistakenly take our underlying policy to be required by reason. While he was not anti-religious, he wanted an ethical system which was not clouded by religion, emotion or personal interpretation. Yet Kant thinks that, in acting from duty, we are not at all motivated by a prospective outcome or some other extrinsic feature of our conduct except insofar as these are requirements of duty itself.

The main reason in support of this claim is that everyone is eventually caught in a situation where they have to choose between the lesser of two evils, which means that people should carefully think about all possible outcomes before making decisions.

And, crucially for Kant, persons cannot lose their humanity by their misdeeds — even the most vicious persons, Kant thought, deserve basic respect as persons with humanity.

Kants categorical argument essay

But this can invite misunderstandings. To this end, Kant employs his findings from the Groundwork in The Metaphysics of Morals, and offers a categorization of our basic moral duties to ourselves and others. Thus, rather than treating admirable character traits as more basic than the notions of right and wrong conduct, Kant takes virtues to be explicable only in terms of a prior account of moral or dutiful behavior. Two of this philosopher 's theories would be defined to find the similarities and differences that impact humanity That is, as an end, it is something I do not act against in pursuing my positive ends, rather than something I produce. Kant discusses many questions with arguable answers, which explains why he is one of the most controversial philosophers still today. What naturally comes to mind is this: Duties are rules or laws of some sort combined with some sort of felt constraint or incentive on our choices, whether from external coercion by others or from our own powers of reason. However, in addition to not being familiar with the words said, a person who does not understand the language will hear and process the sounds differently than a native speaker. Both strategies have faced textual and philosophical hurdles. Kant described two types of commands given by reason. We are motivated by the mere conformity of our will to law as such.
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Kant’s Moral Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)