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A. Explain what Kant meant by the categorical argument. B. Asses Kant's claims critically about the Categorical imperative.

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Introduction

A. Explain what Kant meant by the categorical argument. B. Asses Kant's claims critically about the Categorical imperative. Emanuel Kant was a German Philosopher who lived in the late 18th century and was arguably one of the greatest thinkers of all time. He came up with a guide to morals in direct opposition to the ontological theory. Many people use his ethics as a guide to living a moral life. The topic I shall be discussing is Kant's categorical imperative and the utilitarian's greatest happiness idea. There are significant problems with both ideas. It is apparent however, that alternatives to these two conflicting schools of thought have been offered. One popular criticism of utilitarianism is that it deals too much with the consequences of one's actions, and the same for Kant except that it focuses too much upon intentions. Therefore I shall round up in part B of my essay how both theories fail as moral guideline on how to live life, and look at morality, which I feel are imperative in order to live the good life. During part A I shall be explaining Kant's categorical argument in great detail. For some time now philosophers have discussed the possibility of the existence of right and wrong. The issues of morality and ethical decision-making play a massive role in human actions and we are constantly deciding whether or not the choices we make are 'moral'. ...read more.

Middle

Hoping to achieve some particular end no matter how beneficial it may seem, is not purely good. It is not the effect or even the intended effect that shows moral character on an action. This statement proves what I have explained above." could be brought about through other causes and would not require the will of the rational being, while the highest and unconditional good can be found in only such a will." Having worked out that our actions cannot be moral on the basis of some goal but rather in the motive for which they are done, Kant now establishes a categorical as opposed to hypothetical imperative which serves as a golden rule for moral action. The quote from a philosophy web page develops the Categorical Imperative, which make us act upon an action in all situations: "An action done from duty does not have its moral worth in the purpose which is to be achieved through it but in the maxim by which it is determined. Its moral value, therefore, does not depend on the reality of the object of the action but merely on the principle of volition y which the action is done." From this we can develop Kant's account of the categorical imperative: "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." ...read more.

Conclusion

but also, if Mrs Jennings could lie to allow me to calm down until I am thinking rationally and able to discuss the problem with Mr Jennings, then the murder could be avoided altogether. If Mrs Jennings follows Kant's laws then he creates more problems, like dealing with a murder, the guilt, the loss of Mr Jennings etc. I don't see and others agree, how this really solves any problem, it really is just a code of behaviour to live by and it seems like a total mistake to respond to life's obstacles! The central theme in Kant's argument is that someone's intentions out rule the consequences that result from any actions. As I have shown from the case above. The trolley situation for example, where the brakes stop functioning and the only way out is to either kill five workers on the track or one to the side. Kant's answer would be not to steer away from the five workers because it would be unfair to use the one to the side as a means to save the others' lives. This is a tough case no matter how you look at it. The other view seems like a better answer, sacrifice one for the greater number, but regardless of how you look at it, this case is no win. The main problem with Kant's ideas is that it deals with intentions, and while they are important in distinguishing one's actions, they are not the only factor in question when placed with life's dilemmas. ...read more.

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