Categorical Imperative : Moral Imperative Essay

921 Words Feb 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
The Categorical Imperative
While the maxim, “I will not pay my debts whenever it’s in my interest to do so,” may benefit the individual who borrows money at no cost, it does not qualify as a categorical imperative. The concept of the categorical imperative is a notion of Kantian ethics. Kant states that a categorical imperative entails an action which is not only reasonable, but beneficial to society if everyone were to act this same way. Therefore, this particular maxim does not qualify as a categorical imperative as it not only fails to benefit society when universally applied, but the maxim itself contradicts the actual meaning of the word debt (something, typically money, that is owed or due to another individual or group) in the first place.
The entire goal of the categorical imperative is to achieve good. Nothing within the world can be good without qualification. In other words, the categorical imperative must meet two standards: bettering society and being consistent. Positive attributes of temperament such as intelligence, judgement, wit, and courage can all be overridden by immoral character also known as ill will. A good will is good intrinsically, not based solely on what it accomplishes. According to Kant, the “usefulness or fruitlessness can neither add nor take away from [the] value” of said good will (136). The will is the ability to act with moral autonomy also known as Kantian autonomy and not out of obligation. Kantian autonomy is the idea that one can…

Related Documents