The universal law formation of the categorical imperative in kantian philosophy

Perfect duty[ edit ] According to his reasoning, we first have a perfect duty not to act by maxims that result in logical contradictions when we attempt to universalize them. In a situation where every widow is lied to in order to spare her feelings, then they never get the truth.

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. By asking she has already decided, good or bad, that she must know the truth. God will lead all to perfect happiness if we base universal maxims on what God would desire.

Kant confirms this by comparing motivation by duty with other sorts of motives, in particular, with motives of self-interest, self-preservation, sympathy and happiness.

So, whatever else may be said of basic moral requirements, their content is universal. No two situations in our experience are exactly alike. City and state laws establish the duties of citizens and enforce them with coercive legal power.

If it is narrow enough so that it encompasses only a few people, then it passes the first test. In particular, when we act immorally, we are either weak—willed or we are misusing our practical reason by willing badly. Telling a lie to the widow would increase her happiness and consequently would, at least possibly, be a moral action.

The problem with this approach is that morality loses any value as a universal or intrinsic quality. These topics, among others, are addressed in central chapters of the second Critique, the Religion and again in the Metaphysics of Morals, and are perhaps given a sustained treatment in Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.

For as a rational being he necessarily wills that all his faculties should be developed, inasmuch as they are given him for all sorts of possible purposes. Yet, given limitations on our time, energy and interest, it is difficult to see how full rationality requires us to aim to fully develop literally all of our talents.

Kant was having none of it. The requirement that one consider all of the consequences of an action and determine the best possible action through such calculations makes me reject utilitarianism as a method of determining morality.

This picture of morality resonates with my common sense view of morality. Therefore, Kant denied the right to lie or deceive for any reason, regardless of context or anticipated consequences.

Moral requirements, instead, are rational principles that tell us what we have overriding reason to do. Perhaps the die-hard liar can regroup and test a narrower maxim.

Because the victim could not have consented to the action, it could not be instituted as a universal law of nature, and theft contradicts perfect duty.

We will briefly sketch one way of doing so for the perfect duty to others to refrain from lying promises and the imperfect duty to ourselves to develop talents.Imperative Kantian philosophy outlines the Universal Law Formation of the Categorical Imperative as a method for determining morality of actions.

This formula is a two part test.

Categorical imperative

First, one creates a maxim and considers whether the maxim could be a universal law for all rational beings. Kantian philosophy outlines the Universal Law Formation of the Categorical Imperative as a method for determining morality of actions. This formula is a two part test/5(5).

Philosophy Ethics Immanuel Kant, "Act In Accordance with Universal Law" Abstract: Kant's notion of the good will and the categorical imperative are very briefly sketched. 1. According to Kant, what is the only good-in-itself?

Why is this so? Is it a necessary condition for happiness? 2. Kantian philosophy outlines the Universal Law Formation of the Categorical Imperative as a method for determining morality of actions. This formula is a two part test.

First, one creates a maxim and considers whether the maxim could be a universal law for all rational beings. The categorical imperative (German: kategorischer Imperativ) is the central philosophical concept in the deontological moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

Introduced in Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, it may be defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action.

Kant's Moral Philosophy

Categorical imperative, in the ethics of the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, founder of critical philosophy, a moral law that is unconditional or absolute for all agents, the validity or claim of which does not depend on any ulterior motive or end.

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The universal law formation of the categorical imperative in kantian philosophy
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