According to Kant, the Supreme theory of morality was the categorical imperative. Imperative refers to a command. When commands are unconditional, they are referred to as imperatives. Kant believed that there are certain actions that should not be allowed regardless of their reason. Even if not doing the action would have resulted in a worse scenario. The categorical imperative determines our moral duties. Therefore the moral nature of our actions is not dictated by the consequences but rather on whether they fulfill our duties. An example is, dont cheat in exams even if doing so would serve your interest.
To determine the actions that are morally required Kant offers two formulas. The first one is the formula of universal law. This formula states that one should only act upon that maxim upon you shall and at the same time will that it should become a universal law. This formula says that one should act the way they would want others to act towards them. No exceptions should be made. For example, one might decide to make it a maxim to help a beggar whenever they meet them on the street. Maxim is a principle.
The second formula is the formula of the end in itself. The formula states that one should act in a manner that treats humanity, in both personal and every other person persona, never as a means always to an end. This formula states that one should not use another person as a mere means. This includes using someone else in a plan to which they could not in person accept it. An example is a person A making a promise to person B with the intention of breaking it. This means person B is just a mere means to an end to the plans of person A.
Karl argument of regarding others as being ends themselves has been shown in the second formula. Karl argument is that humans should share into each others plans by sharing some of their ends. Every person has a duty to this. Sharing each others ends means that every persons plans deserve respect. Because of imperfection and diversity within the human race, it is impossible to assist everyone. Therefore humans have two main duties; the perfect duty and the imperfect duty. The former requires that we act on no maxims that will use a fellow human as a mere means while the latter that requires we act on some maxims that promote an end to each others plans.
Autonomy refers to the will of every reasonable person being that of universal law. This implies that one should act in such a manner that ones principles could be the legislator of universal principle. It focuses more the legislation of the laws than abiding by them. For people to follow or abide by a will or principle it has to be devoid of self-interest. If a will lacks self-interest, it is said to be autonomous which means everyone can adopt it.
When talking about Kingdom of the ends, Kant says that rational will as a will that must regard itself as uniting all other wills. This concept Kant tries to introduce the social structure of the society. It states that humans are supposed to act by the will of the person giving universal laws. The idea behind this concept is that people should act so as to gain acceptance into the community of rational agents.
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