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Kant’s Categorical imperative Essay

Essay Topic:

Kantian moral philosophy is called the categorical imperative, which was formulated by German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant is an 18th century German philosopher who proposed a criterion of moral obligation that is a stark deviation from the traditional moral philosophies of his time. Traditional moral philosophies prior to Kant focused on good character traits and the consequence of actions. In contrast, Kant believed that there is only one supreme principle of morality, which he called the categorical imperative. (The Categorical Imperative, 2001).Kant’s anchored his philosophy on the concept of duty. This kind of philosophy is deontological, which holds that morality is determined by man’s duty, and such duty is formulated in the rule of the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative serves as the one general rule that shall guide human actions (The Categorical Imperative, 2001).Kant posited that the moral principle that should guide human actions must be objective, rational and freely chosen. Subjective factors such as pleasure have no use in moral philosophy, which factors figured largely in other ethical theories such as utilitarianism. Proper conduct of man is determined by principles of obligation and reason (The Categorical Imperative, 2001).The categorical imperative could be applied in controversial ethical issues such as euthanasia. The question of whether it is morally correct to pull the plugs of medical support on a person whose chances are living are relatively small could be answered by determining whether one course of action could be considered as a general rule compared to the other option (The Categorical Imperative, 2001).  Applying the notions of obligation and duty, the balance would tilt in favor of keeping life support systems, since none would argue against the adoption of a general rule of action in favor of the obligation and duty of assisting the continuation of life.

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