Kant’s moral theory
Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher from Kaliningrad, Russia who researched, lectured and wrote on philosophy and anthropology during the Enlightenment at the end of the 18th century.
According to Kant, human beings occupy a special place in creation, and morality can be summed up in one ultimate commandment of reason, or imperative, from which all duties and obligations derive. He defined an imperative as any proposition that declares a certain action (or inaction) to be necessary. There are two types of imperatives introduced by Kant. 1) Hypothetical imperative and 2) Categorical imperative.
Hypothetical imperatives apply to someone dependent on them having certain ends for example: if I wish to quench my thirst, I must drink something; if I wish to acquire knowledge, I must learn.
A categorical imperative, on the other hand, denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that asserts its authority in all circumstances, both required and justified as an end in itself. It is best known in its first formulation:
Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. The second form explains that always treat humanity, whether in your own person or that of another, never simply as a means but always at the same time as an end.
The categorical imperative is the central philosophical concept in the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Introduced in Kant's 1785 Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, it may be defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action.
Categorical imperatives are principles that are intrinsically valid; they are good in and of themselves; they must be obeyed in all, and by all, situations and circumstances if our behavior is to observe the moral law. It is from the Categorical Imperative that all other moral obligations are generated, and by which all moral obligations can be tested. The... [continues]
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