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Immanuel Kant: Categorical Imperative

Page history last edited by Jerome E. Jose 13 years, 11 months ago

Jerome E. Jose                                                                                     Feb.06,2009  

BS-IS                                                                                                   Sir.Paul Pajo

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems   

Library Reference: none

            Amazon Link:http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1233910528&sr=1-1

              Quote: “The end justifies the means.”

                What I expect to learn: The meaning of Categorical Imperative and the importance of it on our society 



                        According to Wikipedia, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." Well, basically based on what I’ve understood, Categorical Imperative means that we should act based on universal law. Kant expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the popular moral philosophy of his day, believing that it could never surpass the level of hypothetical imperatives: a utilitarian says that murder is wrong because it does not maximize good for the greatest number of people, but this is irrelevant to someone who is concerned only with maximizing the positive outcome for himself. Hypothetical imperatives tell you what to do in order to achieve a particular goal: “If you want to have enough money to buy a new phone, then get a job”; “If you don’t want to go to prison, then don’t steal cars”.


             What I've learned:


I have now deeply understood the true meaning of Categorical Imperative that Immanuel Kant is talking about 



                Integrative Questions:


  1. What is categorical Imperative?
  2. What is a good will?
  3. What does it mean to say that  the “end justifies the means”
  4. What are the gifts of fortune?
  5. What are the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives.



  • ·         Explain Kant’s account of the good will.



The right motive is “to do the right thing”, “to do one’s duty”, “to respect the moral law.” A rational being with a Good Will automatically does its duty. For me, it means that in spite of all the distractions in this world, what counts is the will to do good! 



  • ·         Distinguish between hypothetical and categorical imperatives.       



A hypothetical imperative is a "must". You should do what you must or need to do, while categorical imperative is that, what you care about simply doesn’t matter. Your duty is your duty. 



  • ·         State the first formulation of the categorical imperative (using the notion of a universal law), and explain how Kant uses this rule to derive some specific duties toward self and others.  


"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."



  • ·         State the second version of the categorical imperative (using the language of   means and end) and explain it.


“The end justifies the mean” The result of your actions has something to do with how your every action. 









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