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

    Therefore, if he were to kill the man, in order to save the rest, his action would be immoral. There are a great many flaws in both Act, and Rule, Utilitarianism. With regards Act Utilitarianism, problems arise regarding the universal consequences of an action and how pleasure is measured.

  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. RE euthanasia for and against

    Do people who ask for euthanasia (who are in great pain) really know what they are asking for? Many people with painful periods in their life can look back and be glad that the law did not allow the option to tempt them and that they can live the rest of their lives in full.

  2. `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

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

    What we can control however is the will behind these actions. That is we can will to act according to one law rather than another. The morality of an action therefore, must be assessed in terms of the motivation behind it and not the consequences associated with it.

  2. Kant and the Categorical Imperative

    humanity, both in your own person and in the person of every other human being, never merely as a means, but always as an end.' This means that a human being is the most significant factor in any moral equation.

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

    Social roles and identity must harmonize with the moral identity. In this case, to identify a set of moral principles to guide moral identity is a first-level point also for the social identity. But moral identity should be regarded as independent to all social identity.

  2. Examine what is meant by situation ethics

    4.Personalism- This is the desire to put people not laws first. It is always what is the best to help a person that makes a decision a good one. As God is meant to be personal therefore morality should also be person-centred.

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