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Immanuel Kant Essay

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Kant's Philosophy First Paper


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), one of the most prestigious theorists in the history of Western philosophy, has been celebrated for his great contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. Kant especially celebrates the originality and uniqueness of his ethical theory through his general criticism of previous ethical theories and has always been regarded as a profound impact on more or less all the philosophical movements that went behind him. Significantly, Kant's philosophy is anchored in his conviction that the value of man is inbuilt in his ability to reason and his criticisms of utilitarianism have become well-known in the history of philosophy.


Immanuel Kant, German philosopher believed that human beings were "above all price", meaning that people have an intrinsic worth. Immanuel Kant was opposed to the belief that the end justified the means. Kant believed that any action is moral only if it is universal, without attachment to an individual. He believed that one should act in accordance with one's duty and principals. Kant was opposed to Utilitarianism he believed that this theory devalued the individuals it was supposed to benefit. Kant viewed previous ethical theories as having the achievement of human happiness and satisfaction as the ultimate goal.

Kant distinguished between heteronomy as the belief that outside forces influence people's actions. Kant thought that as people we were all autonomous and would naturally perform autonomous acts, instead of being inclined to act according to consequences. Kant's focus was on duty driven ethics, ethics that maintain the moral wrongness or rightness depending upon the action of its intrinsic qualities and not on consequences.

According to Kant the Categorical Imperative, this is founded on reasoning, and is basically a rule for making rules. Kant meant for us to be willing to set a rule, or a maxim and will that everyone act on that rule, making it universal. Once an action was defined as a categorical imperative it must be followed, in the same way each time the situation would arise. Categorical imperatives are in contrast to hypothetical imperatives, hypothetical imperatives are expressed as `if' statements, conditioned on a goal or desire. Categorical imperatives do not have any `if' statements. Adhering to the categorical imperative provides people with autonomous ethical choices. It requires people to make self legislating moral decisions based on our ability to reason.

I believe his main arguments are that what is instinctively good is our good will....

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