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Categorical imperative

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6/1/2011 9:52:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
What is it? Just felt like explaining this

Kant defines imperative as a principle or law governing our behavior. A hypothetical imperativ is a standard of conduct based on the benefits produced by a particular act. A categorical imperative however sees the act as good in itself, irrespective of anything it produces. Only a categorical imperative can establish a moral duty. And since a categorical imperative is true regardless of it's effect, kants theory directly contradicts theories of utility by mill and Bentham. Kant beliefs that categorical imperatives can determined what actions are morally demanded. Kant establishs. Simple test for judging whether our decision to behave a certain way is consistent with a categorical imperative. That decision is morally just if we could establish it as a universal law. If we can justify our own decisions as the way people should act in ll similar circumstances, then the decision constitutes a categorical imperative.

Kant argues that a particular act is moral if it is a product of good will, that is, if it is motivated solely by ones sense of duty as opposed to ones personal inclination. In other words, an act is moral if it is undertaken solely be ause it is the right thing to do, not that it is beneficiL in some way.

Example: assume that a man has decided to contribute a large sum of money to a particular charity. This action may or may not be moral, depending upon whether or not it is motivated by good will or by self interst. The man may contribute money to obtain a tax write off, or he may contribute money to improve the image others have of him. In either case, the act should not Command our respect. It is motivated by self interest rather than a sense of duty. The fact thT the donation may save lives is irravent to our evaluation of it's moral worth. Saving lives was not his exclusive motivation for contributing. Motivation, not effects, determines moral worth

Thoughts on Kant and his categorical imperative?
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