The Categorical Imperative

Topics: Philosophy, Immanuel Kant, Categorical imperative Pages: 3 (1011 words) Published: February 17, 2014
The Categorical Imperative

“A categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as objectively necessary in itself, without reference to any other purpose” (Kant, Immanuel Kant along with some other great philosophers was a central figure in modern philosophy. His ethical theory provides an account of general duties and a justification of moral motivation. During Kant’s life span from 1724-1804 he studied many different topics in philosophy but his main study was on the Categorical Imperative. Along with the Categorical Imperative he also studied maxims and the principle of universalizability. Kant’s theory is very hard to interpret and can be complex and difficult at times. The Supreme Principle of Morality also known as the Categorical Imperative is Kant’s main focus in his philosophic theory. The Categorical Imperative can also be described as an unconditional command. There is only one Categorical Imperative but there are three different formulations that Kant has created. The first formulation of the Categorical Imperative as quoted by Kant is, “Act only according to the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” In other words this formulation of the Categorical Imperative can be said that when each individual determines that everyone, including themselves, will always act the same way to the same general rule. In order for a person to be a moral and good person they will have to follow this formulation of the Categorical Imperative. This is the most confusing but important part of Kant’s ethical theory.

In the first formulation Kant stated, “Act only according to that maxim…” What is a maxim? Defined by Kant a maxim is, “a subjective principle of violation.” In other words a maxim can be defined as a policy statement or a personal rule that contains a condition and an action. There are many different types of maxims that can be created but according to Kant some of...
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