Premium Essay

Kant Immanual

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By ewhaler
Words 497
Pages 2
Emily Whaler
12 July 2014
Explain Kant’s distinction between a hypothetical imperative and a categorical imperative. Why does Kant think that all moral commands are categorical rather than hypothetical? What does it mean to act from a good will? Do you agree or disagree with Kant that only actions performed from a good will have moral value?
Immanuel Kant
Imperatives are commands in which Kant distinguishes between hypothetical and categorical imperatives. A hypothetical imperative is one that is relative. It takes the form of “If this, then that.” (333) This kind of imperative is not universal or absolute since they are conditioned on a relevant desire or greater achievement out of one’s self-interest. On the other hand, a categorical imperative deals with universalizability and strips away the emotions that bind a hypothetical imperative. Kant uses a formula in order to determine if an imperative is categorical. “Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become a universal law of nature.” (334) Kant suggests that if the command can be made a rule for all of mankind then it is categorical since this would make it universally binding. Kant thinks that all moral commands are categorical rather than hypothetical because only when one is motivated by morality can he have moral worth. This is because morality is not fixed in consequences that may arise, however, it is out of a person’s duty to fulfill that job regardless of their emotional state or desires, which defies a hypothetical imperative.
To act from a good will, according to Kant, depends on ones motives. He says that “ought implies can,” in which a person can be motivated to do an abundance of good, but is limited by factors such as finance or physical well-being. (330) In this case a person would be considered good with good motives despite their inability to produce a good outcome. However, someone...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Immanual Kant Deontology Presentation

...Immanuel Kant Presentation Deontology – Deon-duty, logos -science Because we so regularly take it for granted that moral values are closely related with the goal of human well-being or happiness Kant's claim that these two ideas are absolutely separate makes it difficult to grasp his point of view and easy to misunderstand it. "Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good without qualification, except a good will." What does Kant mean by a "good will"? A "good will" means to act out of a purpose of moral obligation or "duty". In other words, the moral person does a certain action not because of its consequences, but because she comprehends by reasoning that it is morally the right thing to do and so believes herself as having a moral duty or obligation to do that action. One may of course as an added fact get some enjoyment or other reward from doing the right thing, but to act morally, one does not do it for the sake of its desirable results, but because one recognizes that it is morally the right thing to do. When does one act from a motive of doing one's duty? Kant replies that we do our moral duty when our purpose is controlled by a belief recognized by reason rather than the want for any expected result or emotional reasons for our actions. Kant believes that there are only 2 types of motivations 1. Ones that are clear recognition of one’s duties. 2. Selfish one This includes those people that......

Words: 1421 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

The Categorical Imperative

...Imperative Immanual Kant Kant argues that all imperatives are commanded either hypothetically or categorically. The hypothetical imperative says that an action is good only as a means to something else. Hypothetical imperatives tell us about which means will be best to achieve our ends; however, they do not tell us anything about the ends we should choose. The categorical imperative says one should act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. In other words, Kant is saying that the nature of a moral act is one which would be the right thing to do for any person in similar circumstances. An example Kant uses to explain this theory involves a man who finds himself in need of money and plans to borrow money but he knows that he will not be able to repay the lender. When we consider how it would be if his maxim became a universal law we see that it is contradicting. A law that says that anyone can promise something with the intention of not fulfilling it would make the promise and its end to be accomplished by it impossible. He goes on to explain that “things” have only a relative worth as means while on the other hand rational beings are designated “persons,” because they are ends themselves and may not be used merely as means. The practical imperative states that you act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only. According to......

Words: 297 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Describe the Main Principles of the Two Normative Ethical Theories of Deontology and Utilitarianism. Compare and Contrast the Two Theories, Bringing Out Any Problems or Limitations You See in Each.

...justify your own views with reasons – don’t just state your opinions without arguing for them in terms of moral values. There are two major ethics theories that attempt to specify and justify moral rules and principles; these are utilitarianism and deontological ethics. Utilitarianism (also known as consequentialism) is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).(1) Deontology is a ??? theory developed from the eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). The theory utilitarianism is the morality of an act that is judged by it’s utility. The greatest utility that is has for the most people; the greatest usefulness an act has for the most people. Utilitarianism states morality is not based in the act itself but in the consequences of the act. The utilitarian approach to morality implies that no moral act or rule is intrinsically right or wrong; it is the rightness or wrongness of an act or rule that is solely a matter of the overall nonmoral good (pleasure, happiness, health, knowledge, or...

Words: 1646 - Pages: 7

Free Essay


...Carper, B. (2013). Fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing. In W. Cody (Ed), Philosophical and theoretical perspectives for advanced nursing practice (pp. 23-33). Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning. The author identifies the structure of knowledge and the fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing. It is in understanding these patterns that is essential for the teaching and learning of nursing. She describes what kinds of knowledge are held to be of the most value in the discipline of nursing. The four fundamental patterns of knowing she describes are: (1) empirics, the science of nursing, (2) esthetics, the art of nursing, (3) the component of personal knowledge in nursing, and (4) ethics, the component of moral knowledge. Understanding each of these patterns makes it possible for increased awareness of the complexity and diversity of nursing knowledge. She then goes on to say that each pattern may be necessary to achieve mastery in nursing but none of them alone should be considered sufficient. The patterns all work together, but one needs to understand each component to understand the overall concept. She then identifies three major significances to the discipline of nursing in distinguishing patterns of knowing, (1) the conclusions of the discipline conceived as the subject matter cannot be taught or learned without reference to the context of the structure; (2) each of the patterns represents one way of approaching the problems and questions of......

Words: 272 - Pages: 2

Free Essay


...Past philosophers, tradition, Church authorities Early cosmology (See attached) – See attached – Heliocentric – Geocentric Scientific Method – Integrating observations – Limitations (Why, moral, limited by sin) Big Names (Astronomy) – Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) – Heliocentricism (what's the big deal?) – Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) – Eliptical orbits – Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) – Worked with new instruments – pendulums & telescopes – Isaac Newton (1642-1727) – Everything – Newton's Rules (see attached) In your book – Chemistry – Medicine 1 Age of Reason WH 2 Unit II 2 Age of Reason WH 2 Unit II Use of Reason (look it up) • Solves all problems (look at Kant “What is Enlightenment) • Provided new approaches to learning • Rationalism Two major schools of thought (at the time) • Inductive ◦ Roger Bacon • Deductive ◦ Rene Descartes 3 Age of Reason WH 2 Unit II Kinds of philosophies • Dualism ◦ Mind and Body are different ◦ Binary oppositions- Two fundamental principals for everything ▪ Not monism • Pantheism ◦ Promoted by Spinoza ▪ 'Deus sive Natura' (God or Nature) We are part of Nature as a whole whose order we follow... A substance cannot be produced from anything else : it will therefore be its own cause, that is, its essence necessarily involves existence, or existence appertains to the nature of it. (Spinoza, 1673) 4 Age......

Words: 387 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Occupy Wallstreet

...Occupy Wall Street Movement Liz Croutch Annette Redmon Bus309 May 8, 2013 Discuss the moral and economic implications involved in the movement According to, The Movement Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that “We Are The 99%” that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants. ( The movement began out of frustration in the growing inequality between the wealthy 1% and the rest of the population. Greed, corruption and the perceived undue influence of corporations on government especially in the financial services sector produced this momentous uprising. This movement is the embodiment of all of the frustrations that Americans have dealt with particularly; economically. The rich are getting richer and the poorer getting poorer. This has been the downward spiral for the last forty years. This movement gives a voice to the grievances of the people. According to “Occupy is a kind of a party, not a party with a formal structure, but potential peoples party in formation, the party of working people, the party of the poor, the party of the dispossessed, the oppressed, and the exploited. The Occupy movement excoriates the......

Words: 1542 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Argument Analysis 1: Kant, "What Is Enlightenment?"

...Furthermore, if there were no laws established by the government, there would be chaos and uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean that people have to be submissive and accept everything without having a say in it. Now as we saw in the past, there have been some laws that have been established by elected officials, for example segregation back in the days in American history. It was considered to be breaking the law to protest against it, but if there were no people that protested against this unjust law, the oppression would’ve still continued. So we have the right to protest if we disagree with something, but at the same time there needs to be a balance in our society. On the other side, there is religion and society needs something to believe in. Kant suggests that church tells people how to live. Therefore, the fact that people follow certain...

Words: 540 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

2nd Journal Entry

...SBUS10040 Foundations of Management Thought Bachelor of Commerce International, University College Dublin Tutorial CRN: 74866 Tutor Name: Carolin Grampp Student Name: Brian Allen Student Number: 12459812 Submission Deadline: 7th November 2013 Essay Title: critique scientific management-as promoted by Frederick Taylor- and rational legal bureaucracy-as described and analysed by Max Weber- highlighting how they are both outcomes of enlightenment thinking. Your essay should draw on the assigned readings, as appropriate, from week two to week seven. Word count: 1000 “By submitting your work via this SafeAssign link you declare that all materials included in this submission are product of your own work and that due acknowledgement have been given in the text and in the bibliography to ALL sources, be they printed, electronic or personal. You also declare that you will not facilitate plagiarism by making your work available to others through hard copy distribution or other means. Furthermore, you declare that the submitted material has not been submitted for grading purposes in the past, be it for this module or other modules that you have undertaken as part of your studies.” Date: 6/11/13 Signature:Brian Allen Reflection: In general I found myself more......

Words: 1537 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

What Is Enlightenment

...In his essay titled "What is Enlightenment?" Immanuel Kant defines enlightenment as "man's leaving his self-caused immaturity." (145) In order to fully comprehend his definition, one must first clearly understand Kant's use of the term "immaturity." He explains that immaturity is not thinking for oneself because of a "lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another." (145) To Kant, immaturity is the individual's fault. He explains that a pattern of immaturity is difficult to break, because it becomes comfortable for the individual to rely on others for knowledge. (145) The chief example that Kant provides to illustrate this point is domesticated animals. As an allusion to the role of government on its citizens, he explains that the animal's guardian domesticates it, and then warns it of the dangers of straying from his or her guidance. However, as Kant explains further: "this danger is not really so very great... [but] an example of this kind intimidates and frightens people out of all further attempts." (146) Much like the guardian in Kant's domesticated animal example, governments sometimes facilitate an individual's immaturity by providing the individual with a ready-made set of beliefs to which he or she can cling. (148) Kant identifies a clear distinction between the individual's pursuit of enlightenment as opposed to that of the public: "It is difficult for the isolated individual to work himself out of the immaturity which...

Words: 1107 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Democratic Peace Theory

...originated by Immanuel Kant back in 18th century, is a theory in political science that prevents armed conflict among democracies. The Democratic Peace indicates that democratic states will not get into war with each other; they have a separate peace On the other hand, it is possible for these democratic states to go to war with authoritarian regimes or stateless people. Scholars and academicians believe that democracies find an alternative way to get into a war such as compromises and arbitrations. It has been examined that democratic states have not engaged in a war with one another. Inherently, the number of democratic states expected to rise in the upcoming years of 18th century. As there are more democratic states, as there will be less armed conflicts among each other, which is going to lead the world to a better international system. It has been observed that democracies do get into armed conflict however not with one another; they usually get into war with non-democratic states. It is a significant observation. Democratic Peace Theory is consisted from Immanuel Kant’s “Perpetual Peace”. Immanuel Kant claims that peace is a reasonable outcome of the interaction of states with a republican form of government. The main idea behind Immanuel Kant’s “Perpetual Peace” is that ‘Democracy’ must be spread and made a universal system, in order to create peace amongst the states. This idea of Democratic Peace was discovered over 200 years by Immanuel Kant; however it only......

Words: 741 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

What Is the Right Thing to Do?

...1. Explain, as clearly and completely as possible, Kant’s answer to “What is the right thing to do?” Are there any problems with this answer? According to Immanuel Kant, doing right and moral things are the right thing to do, which means we have the choices to choose what to do or what to respect the moral law which is expressing our goals. Also, we have to do something for the cause of the principle by doing the right things. By doing the right things and following the moral principle is what Kent called good will. Although one cannot achieve what he or she wants, he or she is still doing the right thing because he or she is intended of doing the right things. As you can see, doing something morally good, notwithstanding of its results are the right thing to do because it is his or her jobs. However, doing right and moral things may cause the problem of inclination. It is because people might think doing the good will is our jobs, we must do it. They will never think that they are more proposed to do the good-will because it rewards that it has involved in the thing. If it is like this, it cannot account for the good-will because there are not many people think that they must do it because it is their job instead of thinking how much intention that they want to do for goodwill. Thus, the problem may result of inclination....

Words: 253 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Seminar Two Short Paper

...Seminar Two: Short Paper B Macland Baker College   Introduction: The Problem We are given two problems for ethical consideration. The problems are similar in some respects, but different in one primary detail. The problems are called The Trolley Problem 1 and The Trolley Problem 2. Both problems have a runaway trolley that will kill five people on the track ahead if it continues on its course uninterrupted. The first problem has a switch that will turn the trolley off the track with the five people on it and turn it onto a track where there is one person on it. By hitting the switch you will save the five people, but the trolley will kill the one person. Do you hit the switch to save the five, or let the trolley go and save the one? I would hit the switch and save the five. I felt that if I was put in the position of having to choose to save one or save five, I would choose to save five. To not act at all, to me, is still acting because your inaction still kills one person. It is better to kill five people over killing one person? Definitely not. Although I don’t advocate that killing one person is justified. My choice is simply made because I was given the option of saving one or saving five. My option was not killing one or killing five. Mentally, this changes the scenario. It makes me feel less personally responsible for the deaths. In the second problem there is no switch. The problem is made more personal by the presence of an individual. You are standing on a......

Words: 943 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay


...In life you learn the difference between right and wrong, all humans know this difference but sometimes choose to do wrong. “Human beings have desires and appetites. They are also rational, capable of knowing what is right, and capable of willing to do it” (Sommers & Sommers 2013 p. 242). I do believe that individuals choose their right and wrong mostly based on their desires. Casablanca is a love war movie released in 1942 set in Africa. One of the main characters Rick Blaine is the owner of a nightclub where everyone hangs out and everything happens. In the movie he states he is the type of guy who sticks his head out for nobody, he seemed like a very serious, no game playing type of guy. His nightclub is where the Nazis hang out and conduct business with their enemies to help them get their visas and get into America. In this movie the characters deal with good and evil scenarios in which we can compare to the theories from philosophers Immanuel Kent and John Stuart Mill. Immanuel Kent’s theory was based on categorical imperative and concept of duty, and John Stuart Mill was based on utilitarianism and the concept of the “greatest good for the greatest number”. Categorical imperative is a moral obligation or command that’s unconditionally and universally binding. Moral obligation in other words deontology is the study of right and wrong. Ethics is about deciding whether an action is good or bad and what to do about it if it is "bad." The problem in......

Words: 1050 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Top Ten

...Top Ten Assignment The Enlightenment and Romanic Ages produced numerous masterpieces in art, music, architecture, and literature which people still enjoy today. These opus magnums along with the philosophies during the two periods are reflections of the developments in world events and cultural patterns. This paper will present two pieces of art, music, architecture, literature, and philosophy from the Enlightenment and Romanic Ages that best represents the developments patterns from that time. Philosophy in the Enlightenment Age focused on an individual’s right to life and liberty. One example of a philosopher from this age is Thomas Jefferson. He famously wrote the Declaration of Independence (1776) that the Continental Congress signed declaring the United States free from the oppression of England. The document begins with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (us history, 2013). Another such example of philosophy during the Enlightenment Age are the works of Thomas Paine. He wrote two of the most highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution. One such pamphlet is Common Sense (1776) (us history, 2011) the all-time bestselling book that advocates America’s independence from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were chosen as examples because we believe the......

Words: 1558 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay


...CRACK Should women addicted to crack be able to have children? Barbara Harris says no. Harris has adopted four children from a drug addict. She has also founded CRACK (Children Requiring A Caring Kommunity) a non-profit organization that offers $200 in cash to addicts who agree to be sterilized or undergo long-term contraception like Norplant, which is surgically imbedded under the skin. In this essay I will be discussing what the ethical dilemma is, who the stakeholders are in this ethical dilemma, analyzing the problem by reference to the categorical imperative, analyzing the problem from a Kantian and utilitarian standpoint and giving my overall opinion of this matter. As I understand it the ethical dilemma here is the procedure in itself. Some are saying that the women are doing it for the money to buy more drugs. Also, saying that it takes away women rights to reproduce. Physicians and attorneys are saying that the women are in no condition to consent to being sterilized. They say that because these women are mentally ill and poor they are not capable of making their own decisions. But Barbara Harris from her own experiences says that women addicted to crack do not need to have babies. These women are bringing babies into the world addicted to crack. She tells of a story of how she adopted four children from a crack addicted woman. One of the children would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. She says it looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his......

Words: 1057 - Pages: 5