sample
Haven't found the Essay You Want?
GET YOUR CUSTOM ESSAY SAMPLE
For Only $12.90/page

Ethics on Immanuel Kants Categorical Imperative Essay

Abstract : . Kant’s ideas or his take on ethics was based upon autonomy (self-governance), and reason. He believed that unless a person freely and willingly makes a choice, then their action has no meaning much less any moral value. Kant also thought that every man when using reason when analyzing moral dilemmas would in fact agree with what he called the Categorical Imperative. In accordance with the good will aspects Kant’s claims on good will is the only thing that can be considered good without limitation.

In this paper I will discuss several situations that I have been involved in where both the Categorical Imperative and a good will have applied to my personal experiences. Before I get started I would like to shed a little more light on the Categorical Imperative that Kant and others viewed as very valuable and vital if trying to understand the complexity of ethics and his moral philosophy. It is also important that one must clearly interpret exactly what the Categorical Imperative consist of before trying to administer or apply its formula to anyone.

As human beings we tend to always have to have a logical answer based on reasoning from one source or another. Kant as a philosopher probably conceived ethics as the study of how it would be most rational to act, which is pretty straight forward indeed, but a few of the core aspects of Kant’s Categorical Imperative have many arguments posed against them especially from a Utilitarian perspective. I have done a lot of things that can merit a superior conclusion, and I have also committed acts that result in me being rewarded.

Now as far as the inferior side of the coin goes, did I enjoy the rewards or gratitude given to me due to my actions that were viewed as moral or the right thing to do? Yes I enjoyed them and I will probably sub-consciously commit those same acts again. Now in accordance with the superior side of things I also have helped others I never even met just because I felt that it was a good will and I stand by those which make them a principle. Therefore I am superior in those particular cases.

I do not believe that it is hard to find an individual that acts out of mere principle and expects no reward, I believe that it is just a lot of dishonest and naive people that are not willing to be honest about their true reason or rationalizing. The philosophical views from one of the greatest German philosophers to ever live continue to interest and influence scholarly opinions all around the world. Immanuel Kant was one of those brilliant thinkers or philosophers that were able to give valuable insight that surround many different ethical values of morality.

Kant’s ideas or his take on ethics was based upon autonomy (self-governance), and reason. He believed that unless a person freely and willingly makes a choice, then their action has no meaning much less any moral value. Kant also thought that every man when using reason when analyzing moral dilemmas would in fact agree with what he called the Categorical Imperative. In accordance with the good will aspects Kant’s claims on good will is the only thing that can be considered good without limitation.

In this paper I will discuss several situations that I have been involved in where both the Categorical Imperative and a good will have applied to my personal experiences. Before I get started I would like to shed a little more light on the Categorical Imperative that Kant and others viewed as very valuable and vital if trying to understand the complexity of ethics and his moral philosophy. It is also important that one must clearly interpret exactly what the Categorical Imperative consist of before trying to administer or apply its formula to anyone.

As human beings we tend to always have to have a logical answer based on reasoning from one source or another. Kant as a philosopher probably conceived ethics as the study of how it would be most rational to act, which is pretty straight forward indeed, but a few of the core aspects of Kant’s Categorical Imperative have many arguments posed against them especially from a Utilitarian perspective. I have done a lot of things that can merit a superior conclusion, and I have also committed acts that result in me being rewarded.

Now as far as the inferior side of the coin goes, did I enjoy the rewards or gratitude given to me due to my actions that were viewed as moral or the right thing to do? Yes I enjoyed them and I will probably sub-consciously commit those same acts again. Now in accordance with the superior side of things I also have helped others I never even met just because I felt that it was a good will and I stand by those which make them a principle.

Therefore I am superior in those particular cases. I do not believe that it is hard to find an individual that acts out of mere principle and expects no reward, I believe that it is just a lot of dishonest and naive people that are not willing to be honest about their true reason or rationalizing. Just because one person may will a certain thing does not mean that the majority of people will follow suit. For example a key element of Kant’s theory is the concept of intentions or intent.

To him the actual outcome or the consequences of a particular action doesn’t matter at all, it’s the intentional aspects he is concerned with. Imagine that you are a serial killer just walking down the street and you see a defenseless elderly woman walking in front of you.

It’s no one else around and it’s very dark on the streets. You also have a knife to ensure a silent job and a very easy kill. Now let’s say you decide not to kill this elderly woman and spare her life, but not because you are worried about acting immorally but you did not want to risk her screaming and alerting anyone else that she was being attacked. In the end u decided not to act on your will then according to Kant you have not acted ethically. That’s where I find flaw in his analysis and theory.

So our actions according to Kant’s philosophy doesn’t make us a better person because when you acted or (chose not to act), you weren’t considering action in terms of its morality. You actually abandoned the ideas of moral choice, and merely acted out of a sense of self preservation. However if you did chose not to kill the elderly woman because you suddenly realized that it was wrong to do so, then you would have acted morally according to Kant’s theory on Categorical Imperative. Can the Categorical Imperative even accurate enough and practical to be applied into a personal real life ethical dilemma?

I do not believe that it could. My interpretation of Kant’s theory was the he thought that if everyone just used reason when trying to figure out their ethical duties, then everyone would come up with the same rules to follow. This may be true but I would say that it is very unlikely that humans will ever be unbiased enough to do this, and the Categorical Imperative fails to take into account the complexity of human beings and their relationships to one another. The formula that Kant used was the concepts surrounding universal law.

By this universal law formula he was able to capture the concept that a maxim will work for everyone who it is applied too. The next formula Kant used was the end in itself which occurs when people try to use maxims, (rules that suit themselves) this formulation states that we must not treat others as if they do not have their own life, and respect their acts regardless of ethical belief. It may be my duty to give a small contribution of my earnings to charity, church, or to the homeless indeed, but a homeless man cannot demand that I do so for him because I am not a means to his end, and he has to respect that concept.

The key thing to keep in mind here is that you can’t use people just as a means to an end because people are ends in themselves. For example you couldn’t kill a baby Hitler just because that will save a thousand Jews, according to Kantain perspectives. With the baby Hitler example the maxim would be “killing babies that will commit genocide when they grow up”. On the contrary what if that was a moral rule; like you must kill any babies that will grow up and commit genocide. If the maxim could function as a rule, then actions based on it will be morally right.

These maxims also serve as a way to better understand the rigidly parameters that surround ethical issues. Now as I said earlier on I have a foot-hole in both aspects of this topic. I have done things to receive rewards especially when beautiful women are around. And I have also just given a pure stranger a ride home in the rain after seeing them struggle with groceries. And I never told a soul it was just a mere act of kindness and the ethical thing to do as far as good will goes. That is what makes Kant’s theory in my eyes as secondary to my individuality. I do not agree with him on some aspects of his analysis and some I can relate too.

We all are presented with these scenarios and many of us as typical human beings tend to neglect the infrastructure behind morality of ethical issues. I would say that ethical theory must have examples attached to them; otherwise it wouldn’t be a very good ethical theory. These theories can never be applied practically if one could not imagine using them in different circumstances. The Categorical Imperative does sort of show any rational thinking person both how to tell the difference between right and wrong, and the moral necessity to choose to act in accordance with what’s right.

Personally I fall right in between when it comes to this as I said I have done a little of both sides, being superior( acting out of principles), and I have acted to gain reward but not as much as I have been considered superior. I try my best to act accordingly with morality, and being a dedicated Christian this isn’t that hard. My main source of morality stems from the Bible. I use the Bibles principles as a guideline to how to act morally. I believe that this is the only true source of ethical acts, and that there is no man made doctrines or philosophies that can properly address this complex issue.

As long as I understood Gods Laws and follow a righteous path, morality or acting morally comes like second nature. So to sum it all up about Kant’s perspectives I believe he was a little more concerned with a person’s intentions than a consequentialist with utilitarian views, but Kant did feel that if you didn’t act according to the Categorical Imperative you could be accused of acting unethically. It was clear that Kant like me was not content with the popular moral philosophy of his day. According to Kant, when we act upon a maxim that can’t be universalized or (willed by everyone else) we are contradicting ourselves.

Meaning that without a will that everyone else views as objective then any action taken can potentially contradict one’s self. To further understand Kant’s philosophy I will walk you through a series of scenarios that I have experienced in my life. I can recall several occasions where the categorical Imperative aspect of Kant’s philosophy has shed light on my ethical or morally based actions. One afternoon I was riding down the street and I noticed a few guys struggling with groceries trying to get back to their school.

I could have kept going and actually I did, but I decided to turn around and offer them a ride to their destination. Now according to Kant’s good will I acted on a matter of principle, and not to gain reward. There was nothing I expected to gain from my actions. Now if I had asked them for gas money or maybe some sort of payment for the ride then at that point I become inferior according to Kant’s Categorical Imperative. There was another instance when I acted morally and ethically in Kant’s eyes and that was the time I acknowledged an older woman attempting to put air in her tire at Kroger grocery store.

Actually at the time I was in need of air for my tire too and the clerk had turned on the machine but before I got there to it she came and was experiencing trouble getting the air in her tire. I politely offered her assistance and she was very grateful and she insisted that I take five dollars for my actions. Now I in fact was not expecting to get paid for this, but she insisted that I take it. I made it very clear that I felt that this was a universal duty of mine to assist at a time when my assistance was clearly needed.

She was older and having trouble with the air pump so I felt an obligation to assist her so I did so. Now did I act morally according to Kant’s Categorical Imperative and the good will? Was I superior or inferior? Yes I acted morally because Kant was not concerned with outcome or consequences he only focused on the intent of that particular action. Kant also emphasizes the absolute necessity of separating genuine morality from all empirical considerations. I find Kant’s formula to be a valuable tool but it neglects to define moral law as God-given.


Essay Topics:


Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email. Please, specify your valid email address

We can't stand spam as much as you do No, thanks. I prefer suffering on my own