Hypothetical imperatives tell us which means best achieve our ends. They do not, however, tell us which ends we should choose.
Kant pursues this project through the first two chapters of the Groundwork. The point of this first project is to come up with a precise statement of the principle or principles on which all of our ordinary moral judgments are based.
The judgments in question are supposed to be those that any normal, sane, adult human being would accept on due rational reflection.
Nowadays, however, many would regard Kant as being overly optimistic about the depth and extent of moral agreement. But perhaps he is best thought of as drawing on a moral viewpoint that is very widely shared and which contains some general judgments that are very deeply held.
In any case, he does not appear to take himself to be primarily addressing a genuine moral skeptic such as those who often populate the works of moral philosophers, that is, someone who doubts that she has any reason to act morally and whose moral behavior hinges on a rational proof that philosophers might try to give.
He rests this second project on the position that we — or at least creatures with rational wills — possess autonomy. The argument of this second project does often appear to try to reach out to a metaphysical fact about our wills.
This has led some readers to the conclusion that he is, after all, trying to justify moral requirements by appealing to a fact — our autonomy — that even a moral skeptic would have to recognize.
Yet in the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant also tried to show that every event has a cause. Kant recognized that there seems to be a deep tension between these two claims: Kant thought that the only way to resolve this apparent conflict is to distinguish between phenomena, which is what we know through experience, and noumena, which we can consistently think but not know through experience.
Our knowledge and understanding of the empirical world, Kant argued, can only arise within the limits of our perceptual and cognitive powers. On one interpretation Hudsonone and the same act can be described in wholly physical terms as an appearance and also in irreducibly mental terms as a thing in itself.
On this compatibilist picture, all acts are causally determined, but a free act is one that can be described as determined by irreducibly mental causes, and in particular by the causality of reason. A second interpretation holds that the intelligible and sensible worlds are used as metaphors for two ways of conceiving of one and the same world Korsgaard ; Allison ; Hill a, b.
When we are engaging in scientific or empirical investigations, we often take up a perspective in which we think of things as subject to natural causation, but when we deliberate, act, reason and judge, we often take up a different perspective, in which we think of ourselves and others as agents who are not determined by natural causes.
We also need some account, based on this principle, of the nature and extent of the specific moral duties that apply to us. To this end, Kant employs his findings from the Groundwork in The Metaphysics of Morals, and offers a categorization of our basic moral duties to ourselves and others.
In addition, Kant thought that moral philosophy should characterize and explain the demands that morality makes on human psychology and forms of human social interaction. These topics, among others, are addressed in central chapters of the second Critique, the Religion and again in the Metaphysics of Morals, and are perhaps given a sustained treatment in Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.
Further, a satisfying answer to the question of what one ought to do would have to take into account any political and religious requirements there are.
Each of these requirement turn out to be, indirectly at least, also moral obligations for Kant, and are discussed in the Metaphysics of Morals and in Religion. Finally, moral philosophy should say something about the ultimate end of human endeavor, the Highest Good, and its relationship to the moral life.
In the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant argued that this Highest Good for humanity is complete moral virtue together with complete happiness, the former being the condition of our deserving the latter.
Unfortunately, Kant noted, virtue does not insure wellbeing and may even conflict with it. Further, he thought that there is no real possibility of moral perfection in this life and indeed few of us fully deserve the happiness we are lucky enough to enjoy.
Throughout his moral works, Kant returns time and again to the question of the method moral philosophy should employ when pursuing these aims. A basic theme of these discussions is that the fundamental philosophical issues of morality must be addressed a priori, that is, without drawing on observations of human beings and their behavior.
The Metaphysics of Morals, for instance, is meant to be based on a priori rational principles, but many of the specific duties that Kant describes, along with some of the arguments he gives in support of them, rely on general facts about human beings and our circumstances that are known from experience.The Categorical Imperative.
Immanuel Kant. The Categorical Imperative: An Ethics of Duty the moral law is universal and impartial and rational, the categorical is a way of formulating the criteria by which any action can pass the test of universality, impartiality, and rationality.
The Categorical Imperative is NOT the Golden Rule. - Analysis of Kant’s Categorical Imperative in Metaphysics Grounding for the metaphysics of morals is a foundation of Kant’s philosophy, in this book, Kant wants to build up a moral kingdom of metaphysical.
The Categorical Imperative which was initially described by Immanuel Kant is the theory that a person is to "act only on the maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" (O'Neill, , p).
Kant believed that there was a supreme principle of morality, and he referred to it as The Categorical Imperative.
The CI determines what our moral duties are. the following is an exerpt from the notes of Professor Eric Barnes. Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Summary & Kantian philosophy outlines the Universal Law Formation of the Categorical Imperative as a method for determining morality of actions.
This formula is a two part test. The categorical imperative (German: kategorischer Imperativ) is the central philosophical concept in the deontological moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Introduced in Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, it may be defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action.