Universalizability In Kant's Categorical Imperative

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Kant's first formulation of the Categorical Imperative is that of universalizability. When someone acts, it is according to some rule, or maxim. For Kant, an act is only permissible if one is willing for the maxim that allows the action to be a universal law by which everyone acts. Maxims fail this test if they produce either a contradiction in conception or a contradiction in the will when universalized.

Kant believes that all moral judgments must be universalizable. That is, if we say that an act is right for one person, then we are committed to saying that it is right for all other relevantly similar persons in relevantly similar circumstances. In the same manner if an act is wrong for other people then it is wrong for any one person unless there is some difference that justifies making an exception. This principle of universalizability expresses the simple point
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Or, in other words, an agent's action is morally permissible if and only if it is rational for him or her to will that the maxim (i.e., principle) on which he or she is acting be a universal law. Unfortunately, one doesn't always know what the maxim on which one is acting is or whether one could rationally will that that maxim be a universal law. People contend that the correct ethical theory must be one on which we can always know whether a particular action is morally right or wrong. This might motivate us to endorse a subjective version of Kant's Universal Law Formula on which an agent's action is morally permissible if and only if he or she believes that the maxim on which he or she is acting when he or she performs that action is universalizable and morally obligatory if and only if he or she believes that there is no other action he or she could perform from a universalizable

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