Bulisik

Immanuel Kant: The Categorical Imperative

Posted on: March 12, 2009

Chapter: 7- Immanuel Kant: The Categorical Imperative

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Author: James E. White

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James

White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234122156&sr=1-1

Quote: “It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will.”

What I expect to learn:

The learning expectation for this chapter review would be all about self-love.

Chapter Review:

For me, this chapter is all about studying of what a person can do for self-love. In this chapter, Kant described that the good will is that it is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will. A good will is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes – because of its fitness for attaining some proposed end: it is good through its willing alone – that is, good in itself. He also described what is hypothetical and categorical imperatives. According to Kant, when he conceives Hypothetical Imperatives in general, he does not know beforehand what it will contain – until its condition is given. But if he conceives Categorical Imperatives, he knows at once what it contains. He also explains that the categorical imperative can be used to justify immoral actions.

What I’ve learned:

What have I learned is that to much self-love could cause immorality.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is good will?

2. What are hypothetical imperatives?

3. What are categorical imperatives?

4. What do motive of duty has no moral worth means?

5. Is taking ones life immoral?

Review Questions:

1. Explain Kant’s account of the good will.

Kant’s account of the good will is that it is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will. A good will is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes – because of its fitness for attaining some proposed end: it is good through its willing alone – that is, good in itself.

2. Distinguish between hypothetical and categorical imperatives.

According to Kant, when he conceives Hypothetical Imperatives in general, he does not know beforehand what it will contain – until its condition is given. But if he conceives Categorical Imperatives, he knows at once what it contains.

3. State the first formulation of the categorical imperative (using the notion of a universe law), and explain how Kant uses this rule to derive some specific duties toward self and others.

The only further question to ask is whether this principle of self-love can become a universal law of nature. It is then seen at once that a system of nature by whose law the very same feeling whose function is to stimulate the furtherance of life should actually destroy life would contradict itself and consequently could not subsist as a system of nature.

4. State the second version of the categorical imperative (using the language of means and ends). And explain it.

According to Kant, this principle of self-love or personal advantage is perhaps quite compatible with his own entire future welfare; only there remains the question “Is it right?”

Discussion Questions:

1. Are the two versions of the categorical imperative just different expressions of one basic rule, or are they two different rules? Defend your view.

The two versions of the categorical imperative are just different expressions of one basic rule because are the same because both of them talks about self-love in the negative side.

2. Kant claims that an action that is not done from the motive of duty has no moral worth. Do you agree or not? If not, give some counterexamples.

No, because some undone duties can cause good for others.

3. Some commentators think that the categorical imperative (particularly the first formulation) can be used to justify immoral actions. Is this a good criticism?

Yes, because in taking your own life is obviously an example of an immoral action.

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