Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

Authors
Robert Johnson
University of Missouri, Columbia
Abstract
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Immorality thus involves a violation of the CI and is thereby irrational. Other philosophers, such as Locke and Hobbes, had also argued that moral requirements are based on standards of rationality. However, these standards were either desirebased instrumental principles of rationality or based on sui generis rational intuitions. Kant agreed with many of his predecessors that an analysis of practical reason will reveal only the requirement that rational agents must conform to instrumental principles. Yet he argued that conformity to the CI (a non-instrumental principle) and hence to moral requirements themselves, can nevertheless be shown to be essential to rational agency. This argument was based on his striking doctrine that a rational will must be regarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it. The fundamental principle of morality — the CI — is none other than the law of an autonomous will. Thus, at the heart of Kant's moral philosophy is a conception of reason whose reach in practical affairs goes well beyond that of a Humean ‘slave’ to the passions. Moreover, it is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant thought offered decisive grounds for viewing each as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,323
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Critique of Practical Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1788 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

View all 318 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Beyond Empiricism: Realizing the Ethical Mission of Management.Julian Friedland - 2012 - Business and Society Review 117 (3):329-356.
The Ethics of Peer Review in Bioethics.David Wendler & Franklin Miller - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (10):697-701.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
288 ( #32,335 of 2,448,717 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
19 ( #36,059 of 2,448,717 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes