Kant Essay

402 WordsSep 21, 20122 Pages
In Immanuel Kant’s “Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysics of Morals” he distinguishes between empirical or posteriori concepts, which are reached through experiences in the world, and non-empirical or a priori concepts, which are reached through reasoning and are known as true without any actual experience. It is his belief that individuals cannot decide whether an action is “right,” or moral, by empirical means. He believed that in order to reach a judgment of right, or moral action, the judgment would need to be reached a priori, using pure practical reason. While Kant believed that individuals were rational and quite capable of making free choices using autonomous thinking he also realized that autonomous thinking could be detrimental to his ideal of each individual working for the common good of all. Autonomous thinking would have individuals acting independently with no regard for anyone else. He realized that there were major flaws with this and in order to address this he wrote the three maxims (maxim being a basic principle that a person applies to their actions which must be followed) and these became known as the categorical imperatives. The maxims were written taking into consideration the universal laws of nature, don’t use our humanity, or that of others, as a means to an end and to always act as part of the collective. The categorical imperative is basically Kant’s foundation of his theory of ethics. The first of the three maxims states that we should do our duty because it is our duty, even if by doing said duty, we may cause harm either to ourselves or others. It was his belief that consequences were irrelevant to ethical morality and that intentions were the important thing. In the second maxim Kant says that a person has a perfect duty not to use the

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