Kant's Groundwork: Formulations of the Categorical Imperative

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Immanuel Kant formulated principles regarding what is right and wrong. He developed a system of three questions he referred to as formulations which an individual need to ask before undertaking any action in order to decide upon ethicality of the action


It is significant for a person to ask himself if the action they are about to partake corresponds to a rule, which should be used universally. In addition, when a person to engage in certain activity, they should use other people for their own benefit thinking nothing of them as human beings. Instead, it is good to view other people as our end objective rather than the means to gain personal goals. For Kant, the driving force is a determining factor to what extent can an action be regarded as ethical. This driving force is known as motive. Moral action is not justified if it is done out of sense of pity. According to Kant, moral action should not be based on person’s feelings or pity nor the desire to get a reward but on what you ought to do as a person. For instance, using Kantian categorical imperative to assist a schoolchild to cross a busy street is due to the pity for him not moral action. However, incase you help the student to cross the street because you have a sense of duty is justified as moral action. Motive or driving force is the leading factor in Kantian ethics, therefore there is the possibility of an act having negative aftermath despite being a moral action. For instance, when helping a schoolchild cross the street and in the process, the boy is knocked down by a car; your action remains to be moral. ...
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