Kant 's Categorical Imperative For Moral Knowledge

1500 WordsNov 19, 20146 Pages
Kant’s Categorical Imperative outlines a significant section of his ethics, concerning the search for moral knowledge. This is a mechanism used in accordance with knowing how we ought to act, rather than how we act instinctively through desires and appetites. The identification of the Categorical Imperative is found through rationality and indeed must be equally applicable for all reasonable human beings. Within this essay, I will initially outline Kant’s first formulation of the Categorical Imperative then proceed to show that its credibility as an account of moral obligation is lacking. On account of Kant’s first formulation of the Categorical Imperative; the Formula of the Universal Law of Nature, certain decisions can only be made if they, ‘act only on that maxim through which you can at the same tie will that it should become a Universal Law’. Understanding a maxim as a principle or rule on which you take action, for example: I will make it my maxim only to act in a respectful manner toward my parents. The idea is that rules that cannot be maintained for a number of means should be discarded, as a moral obligation is an obligation for all. It is obvious to all that in order for a principle to have any force in regard to morality, ‘it must carry with it absolute necessity’ (1898:130). If not, the obligation itself, as Kant declares, is easily doubted. Empirical ethics isn’t sufficient. An example commonly used refers to the instruction, ‘thou shalt not lie’. In that,
Open Document