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Kant's Groundwork: Formulations of the Categorical Imperative - Essay Example

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Kant's Groundwork: Formulations of the Categorical Imperative

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. Kant believed that there are certain things like lying, murder, or stealing that are not accepted in society even if they are intended to bring joy to society. For Kant, the question that we ask ourselves before making any decision is if everybody will act the way I act rationally and if the answer is no, then the action should not be done. The other question is that; is a person’s actions justifiable to meeting the targets of other human beings or are they just for their own personal satisfaction? If the answer is no, then we must avoid to perform the action (Allen 61-64). Kant believed in supreme rule that he called the categorical imperative that determines our moral duties. In these sense imperative is simply a command; for example, when somebody tells you; stop playing that piano! Or don’t beat animals! Kant went ahead and formulated a principle that makes one to be known as a good person. This was determined by certain standards like moral worth of that person; in such situation, a person’s action determines his moral worth of doing wrong or right. In Kantian principles, the concept of humanity formula is vital as it makes us to recognize and appreciate the existence of other people as human beings therefore they need to be treated with respect. It is not morally justified to see other human beings as means only but as an end to themselves. The main factor to this rule was recognizing the essentiality of human beings. Our humanity is made of different collection of characters that makes us distinct from other people this includes abilities to do certain tasks in order to achieve our ends (Teale 79-82). Kant ethics also included the formula of autonomy in his groundwork’s of categorical imperative, in this sense human beings tend to focus most on universal laws such as self-interests and ignore other people. This declares that every person need to be accorded his or her personal autonomy to do what interests them and at the end brings happiness to their life. Despite these fundamental principles by Kant, his ethics has been criticized on several situations. For example, his approach does not justify some laid down intricate scenarios in life. For instance if there is conflict of duties: testifying the truth and not revealing your best friends before a court of law who stole company money, will you say the truth and save the ...Show more


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…
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Kants Groundwork: Formulations of the Categorical Imperative essay example
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