Intro to Ethics
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Intro to Ethics
Chapter 10: The Categorical Imperative
Kant argues that the moral worth of an action consists solely in the
principle that motivates it and not in any consequences that might
follow from it. A morally valid principle is one that can serve as a
universal law, applicable to all at any time or in any place, without
resulting in a contradiction. Such a principle is "categorical" (as
opposed to "hypothetical"); it enjoins an action that is good of itself
and not merely as a means to another end. Because humanity, in oneself
or in others, is of absolute worth, Kant is able to give the categorical
imperative a second formulation
: So act that you use humanity,
whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the
same time as an end, never merely as a means.
An action's quality of being morally praiseworthy
or blameworthy; determined solely by the principle that motivates the
action and not by any of the consequences that potentially or actually
follow from it.
Command of reason that recommends some action as necessary to achieve some desired objective.
First formulation of the categorical imperative
Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.
Second formulation of the categorical imperative
Act in such a way that you use humanity, whether in
your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time
as an end, never merely as a means.
End in itself
Something that has absolute worth, that possesses
value in its own right rather than mere usefulness as a means of
achieving some goal external to itself.