Categorical Imperative By Immanuel Kant

2081 Words 9 Pages
In the book, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant lays out his theory for making moral decisions. Unlike many other philosophers, Kant focuses not on the consequences of actions, but on the maxim in which the action was performed; in addition, Kant also tries to find his moral theory a priori instead of through empirical experience. He attempts to formulate a theory grounded through pure reason in which he bases his moral law on something that has never been experienced before that we are able to imagine and strive towards. Kant’s theory circles around the idea of a Supreme Principle of Morality called the Categorical Imperative which encompasses the Formula of Universal Law and the Formula of Humanity; all of which I will …show more content…
The two types are a contradiction in conception and a contradiction of will. A contradiction in conception is when I attempt to imagine a world in which everyone acts from my maxim, I find that in doing so, the maxim would never be successful. This is a violation in perfect duty which is a duty that we must fulfill in all circumstances and at all times. When I try and fail to universalize my maxim, due to the creation of a contradiction in conception, I know that I have a perfect duty not to perform the proposed action found in the maxim. An example of a contradiction in conception would be if I borrowed money from a friend and falsely promised them that I would pay them back, even though I knew I did not have the money to pay them back. This is a contradiction in conception because if I will that everyone follow the maxim of falsely promising to pay someone back, then the maxim would be useless. Falsely promising my friend that I would pay him back in order to borrow money only works if he believes me, or in other words, not many people do this. If everybody borrows money under false pretenses, then no one would ever lend anybody money. The second contradiction is a contradiction of will. If I am able to envisage a world in which everyone can act from my maxim, then I must move to ask myself whether I can will that this world exists. A contradiction of will transpires when I will my maxim and I will that not my maxim at the same time and in the same circumstances. This is a violation of imperfect duty which is a duty that we must fulfill in some circumstances some of the time. When I try and fail to universalize my maxim, due to the creation of a contradiction of will, I know that I have an imperfect duty to not perform the proposed action found in the maxim. An example of a contradiction in will would be if I am doing

Related Documents