Categorical Imperative

2266 Words Aug 11th, 2013 10 Pages
categorical imperative
n.
In the ethical system of Immanuel Kant, an unconditional moral law that applies to all rational beings and is independent of any personal motive or desire

QUICK FACTS * NAME: Immanuel Kant * OCCUPATION: Philosopher * BIRTH DATE: April 22, 1724 * DEATH DATE: February 12, 1804 * PLACE OF BIRTH: Kaliningrad (now Konigsburg), Russia * PLACE OF DEATH: Kaliningrad (now Konigsburg), Russia

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Immanuel Kant was born on April 22, 1724, in Kaliningrad (now Konigsburg), Russia. While tutoring, he published science papers, including "General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens" in 1755. He spent the next 15 years as a metaphysics lecturer. In 1781, he published the first part of
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In the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, once Kant has derived his categorical imperative he applies it to a number of examples. The second example and probably the most analysed is that of an unfaithful promise. Kant applies his imperative to a person who is short of money who intends to ask for a loan, promising to repay it, but with no intention of doing so. When Kant applies the categorical imperative to this situation he discovers that it leads to a contradiction, for if breaking promises were to become universal then no person would ever agree to a promise and promises would disappear. Kant connects rationality with morality, and sees contradictory behaviour as immoral. Some critics have argued that Kant never asserts the connection between rationality and morality, but most dismiss this and point out that Kant clearly explains how morality must be based upon reason and not upon desires.
Rejection of Aristotle
Especially important to Kant were the works
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