Immanuel Kant


Kant is a deontological philosopher; that is, in examining morality he says that the ends must not be looked at, only the means. Kant began by carefully drawing a pair of crucial distinctions among the judgments we do actually make. The first distinction separates a priori from a posteriori judgments by reference to the origin of our knowledge of them. A priori judgments are statements for which there is no appeal to experience in order to dertermine what is true and false. A posteriori judgments, on the other hand, are statements in which experience determines how we discover the truth or falsity of the statement. Thus, this distinction also marks the difference traditionally noted in logic between necessary and contingent truths.

But Kant also made a less familiar distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments, according to the information conveyed as their content. Analytic judgments are those whose predicates are entirely contained in their subjects; since they add nothing to our concept of the subject, such judgments are purely explicative and can be deduced from the principle of non-contradiction. Synthetic judgments, on the other hand, are those whose predicates are altogether distinct from their subjects, to which they must be shown to relate because of some real connection external to the concepts themselves. Hence, synthetic judgments are genuinely informative but require justification by reference to some outside principle.

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In the opening pages of Kants Groundwork he sets his deontological claim. Nothing, he says, can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will. Other things can be undoubtedly good in many respects, but Kant explains that without a good will they become bad and mischievous. Kant explains, A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects, not by its aptness for the achievement of some proposed end, but simply by virtue of the volition; that is, it is good in itself, and considered by itself is to be esteemed much higher than all that can be brought about by it in favor of any inclination, nay even of the sum total of all inclinations. Its usefulness or fruitfulness can neither add nor take away anything from this value.

Kants Categorical Imperative is the thing from which morality can be derived. It is the ultimate formula for determining morality. However, a brief explanation of imperatives is in need.
An imperative is a command; what we must do. A hypothetical or conditional imperative is what we must do if we want X. Kants formulation of the Categorical Imperative is what we must do, regardless. He separates it from a hypothetical or conditional imperative, saying that we must act in accordance with the categorical imperative regardless of our wants or needs.
The four parts, so to speak, of his categorical imperative are thus: a)Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law, b)Act as if the maxim of your action was to become through your will a universal law of nature, c)Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but at the same time as an end, d)So act as if you were through your maxims a law-making member of a kingdom of ends. The former two are closely related to each other; the latter two are related to each other, as well.

I believe that Immanuel Kant is a very good philosophy because of his four parts of categorical imperative. I completely comply with what he says. Like he says, )Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other I believe thats the real way of right to will. I think that all of what he says is something that we can all agree upon. His theories are something that we can all live by. By acting any differently, you can be categorized differently.

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