• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain what Kant meant by the categorical imperative.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain what Kant meant by the categorical imperative The categorical imperative is a term, which Emmanuel Kant originated. The term allows us to acknowledge which actions are compulsory and which are not allowed. It indicates an absolute, an unconditional requirement that allows no exception; it is not a means to another end but to the end itself. 'All imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. If action would be good simply as a means to something else, then the imperative is hypothetical; but if action is represented as good in itself... then the imperative is categorical.' - Immanuel Kant Kant believed that morality was dictatorial; he argued that once you acknowledge something than that bases your future actions. The acknowledgement is a reason for doing something. Kant believed that moral requirements were categorical. He stated that al moral statements were clear-cut as they order actions without thinking of consequences. There are three main principles in categorical imperatives. The first basic principle of morality is: 'let the law be the sole ground or motive of thy will' kant believed that the law had the ability of inspiring respect through reasons ...read more.

Middle

One must not carry out the action if they do not believe that all people would act that way in that situation. Kant came up with such an absolutist theory such as moral law, which allows come actions and forbids others because he believed that it would cause more harm than good and break down society. I.e., he used lying as an example; he claimed that lying was morally bad however; sometimes a little lie was acceptable, such as a white lie. Yet Kant claimed that any lie would hurt someone and even if it didn't hurt a human being it would hurt society. It would not be universalised. In a modern day scenario. There is a lady named Anne and she is married to Ben. Anne has become ill with an incurable degenerative disorder. Anne wishes to end her own life as her quality of life has become so low. Unfortunately for Anne, she is unable to do this by herself and wishes her husband (who is willing) ...read more.

Conclusion

I.e., stealing a teddy to make your cousin happy would be morally wrong even though you made the baby happy because it has made the storeowners unhappy in the process. Therefore, going back to the euthanasia example, Kant is believes then, that that human life should only be treated as an end in itself and never as a means to an end. Kant argues that suicide is using human life as a means to end the suffering that a person may be enduring. Therefore, Kant argues that suicide cannot be morally justified. The third of Kant's principle is ' so act as if you were through your maxim a law making member of a kingdom of ends.' It was vital that a moral law or statement did not treat another as an end. No actions brought on by a moral statement or law should in anyway use a human being as a means to an end. This is because you would not be able to create a maxim such as 'I can steal because everyone else does'. Saori Yoshimoto 12J 2004-01-25 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. RE euthanasia for and against

    Hooker argues that mistakes could be made. He disputes euthanasia by saying, "after a person has died, it would become apparent that the diagnosis was incorrect"20. Hooker suggests with the intention of expressing the view that not all doctors will get a diagnosis exact and the consequences could be dire.

  2. Explain the difference between a hypothetical and categorical imperative - Do you think that ...

    reason quite a bit in your thinking, but I also believe to branch out further and to see the bigger picture you need to obtain morals through observation and by experienceing and observing situtation so that you can can determine your own decision.

  1. Compare Utilitarianism With Kant's Theory of The Categorical Imperative And Explain Which You Think ...

    Instead, people should not be used as instruments for something else, no matter how worthy the aim may be. Thus, Jim would be killing the man in order to save the rest - so he would be using him as a means of achieving something else.

  2. Critically examine what is meant by natural moral law.

    So why does he adopt a denunciation to the sex between homosexuals? It seems contradictory and inconsistent. Thus, I would say that he is imposing his desires and claiming that these are the basis of morality or these are what reason dictates to us.

  1. `Always tell the truth and Always keep your promises' Kant's Categorical Imperative.

    In other words, treat people with the respect that, as people, they deserve. Moreover, treat yourself with the same respect as you would treat others. Why should people automatically deserve respect? The reason is complex but, basically, reduces to this: People are free and rational agents who should therefore abide

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

    According to Kant the only thing that is good without reason is the good will. A good will is good in itself, not just for what it produces. Courage, health, and wealth can all be used for the wrong purposes Kant argues, and therefore cannot be "intrinsically" good.

  1. Kant and the Categorical Imperative

    As Kant believed that, as human life is so precious and unique, under no circumstances can the termination or such life ever be condoned and the preservation of human life is a priority, which exceeds everything in importance. Kant wrote in his book Metaphysics of Morals, 'Act that you treat

  2. Evaluate Korsgaard's discussion of the Universalizability Argument. In what ways does she conform with ...

    Such account becomes a synthesis of the major concerns in the history of moral philosophy. Re-visiting and re-formulating a moral theory based on those critiques make the categorical imperative of Kant powerful and promising. And Third, her account on moral obligation which springs from the question of practical and moral

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work