Analysing The Supreme Principle Of Morality

1809 Words Apr 7th, 2015 8 Pages
Analysing the Supreme Principle of Morality
In Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, he aims to identify and establish “the supreme principle of morality” (4:392). In other words, his work sets out to demonstrate the function of what Kant calls the “Categorical imperative”. The purpose of this essay is to first explain the conception of Kant’s Categorical imperative. It will then discuss the application of this within his Universal Law formulation, as well as within the formula of Humanity. Finally, it will investigate and critique the inconsistency of Kant’s Categorical imperative theory.
Before one can discuss how the Categorical imperative works in its main formulations, it is important to understand the basis of what it is. To open, Kant explains that morality can be addressed as an imperative—this is a proposition which declares an action to be obligatory. There are, however, two types of imperatives underlined in the work, but only one which deals with morality.
(1) Hypothetical imperative
(2) Categorical imperative
(1) is a command that deals with if an individual’s desire to attain a certain end. For example, if you want to acquire knowledge, then you must learn. This imperative can always be posed in the form of “if you want (x), then you must do (y)”. However, hypothetical imperatives are not moral commands because it is concerned purely with personal desire, and lacks necessity. On the other hand, (2) is not dependent on subjective desire.…
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