Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative; It’s Application on the Moral Responsibility

Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Its Application To the Moral Responsibility of the Staff of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception A Research Paper Submitted to Mrs. Ruzzel L. Nazario English Department Pastor Bonus Seminary College of Philosophy In Partial Fulfilment of the Course English Requirements in English 103 (Technical Writing) by Sem. Esper Sy Manginsay October 20, 2012 March 25, 2013 TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER l. Introduction Rationale of the Study Theoretical Background ..

…… Conceptual Framework .

… 5 Statement of the Problem .

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…. 6 Significant of the Study Scope and Delimitation of the Study . Categorical Imperative ..

.. 8 Ill. Moral Responsibility IV.


14 Bibliography ……

. 16 Endnotes ..


17 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Moral Responsibility is when there are right things we should do. We do have a choice to do what is right. Caring for our family, earning for our living, paying taxes and guiding who have lost in their way. These are some examples of moral responsibilities.

You can break them at any time but we will hopefully feel guilt and shame and resume our moral responsibilities. We always have moral responsibilities oral responsibilities. It is, in a way, up to us to decide when people are responsible and when they are not. We must continue to praise and reward, to blame and punish to hold people accountable for their acts, to Judge them responsible or not for what they do. People who have moral responsibility for an action are usually called moral agents.We are responsible for what we do, insofar as it is chosen for reason we accept. We are also mostly responsible for our choices. All this, we think, conforms to common sense.

We are responsible for much but not everything, hence free of a responsibility, me never miss. There are lot of people who are so much concern for the preservation of one’s moral life for the reason that their perspective regarding morality seems ambiguous from the real meaning of morality. Indeed some people are confused about what kind of morality they should follow.This is one of the yearnings of moral agent who aims to have a harmonious way of living.

Now, we live in the contemporary period trying to reconcile the problem that being brought by the modern era. Man as a moral being is searching for the meaning of his life. In spite of being controlled and manipulated by the law. It teaches how to be responsible in taking risk of one’s life due to his action and embracing the consequences.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was one of the seminal fgures in modern philosophy.Almost alone among the great thinkers, Kant believed that morality is a matter of following absolute rules- rules that admit no exceptions, that must be followed come what may. Kant is known for his theory that there is a single moral obligation, which he called the “Categorical Imperative”, and is derived from the concept of duty.

This is the principle that is intrinsically valid; they are good in and of themselves, they must e obeyed in all, situations and circumstances if our behaviour is to observe the moral law.It is an unconditional obligation; that is, it has the force of an obligation regardless of our will or desires. He believed that if an action is not done with the motive of duty, then it is without moral value. He thought that every action should have pure intention behind it; otherwise it was meaningless. He did not necessarily believe that the final result was the most important aspect of an action, but that how the person felt while carrying out the action was the time at which value was set to he result.It is through him the phrase is widely known. According to Kant, “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that should become a universal law’. This principle summarizes a procedure for deciding whether an act is morally permissible.

When a moral agent contemplating doing a particular action, an agent to ask what rule he would be following if he is to do that action. (This will be the “maxim” of the act. ) Then a moral agent asks whether he would be willing for that rule to be followed by everyone all the time. Then would make it a “universal law’ in he relevant sense. ) If so, the rule may be followed, and the act is permissible.

However, if the agent would not be willing for everyone to follow the rule, then he may not follow it, and the act is morally impermissible. The significance of Kant’s moral philosophy is usually ignored by students of philosophy. What is remarkable a new and more comprehensive picture of moral living, a picture of a course of life open to rational agents which is neither purposeless, nor determined in its entire facet by objective insights.The centre of Kantian notion of moral life is not, therefore, goal which is objectively determinable by the apprehension of eternal verities, but, instead, a coherent set of guiding principles- principles to which rational agents may look for guidance. And most importantly, Kant’s conception of moral life is not wedded to either rationalistic or empirical conceptions of natural ends. Like many other philosophers, Kant believed that morality can be summed up in one ultimate principle, from which all our duties and obligations are derived.

He called this principle the Categorical Imperative.Anchored on the theoretical background of this study, the conceptual framework hows the relatedness of the Categorical Imperative of Immanuel Kant as applied to the Moral Responsibility of the Staff of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. Figure 1. Conceptual Paradigm The researcher will venture on Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative and, its application to the Moral Responsibility of the Staff of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. Specifically, this study will seek to answer the following questions: 1.

What does Categorical Imperative mean? 2. What does Moral Responsibility mean? . How could the Categorical Imperative of Immanuel Kant be applied to the Moral Significance of the Study This study is significant to the researcher as one of the seminarians of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception who is very convinced to the possibility of applying the Categorical Imperative of the Staff of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.

This study is significant also to the Staff of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception as they perform their daily responsibilities in their respective task, for it will give them the awareness as moral agents.This study will also help the priests in order to determine and recognize who are responsible nd irresponsible workers in their respective duty. To praise and reward, to blame and punish to hold workers accountable for their acts, to Judge them responsible or not for what they do. Scope and Delimitation of the Study The study focuses only on the Categorical Imperative of Immanuel Kant and its application to the staff of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, particularly to the Moral Responsibility of the Staff of Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.This research is mainly limited to review the references available in the libraries in Zamboanga City, particularly the seminary and the esources of Ateneo de Zamboanga University. The researcher will also gather information by using of various searches of the Internet that are related to the particular topic of study. CHAPTER II CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE A man is aware of his duty, he knows with a clear certitude that murder and stealing are wrong, and that he has the indispensable duty of avoiding such things.

According to Kant, man is indeed aware of the inner command through his practical reason that conforms within, and that is duty; to follow without condition because it is good in itself and necessary. He believed that true morality was developed in the face of the eal choice between right and wrong. Since man is by nature free, therefore he has the right to practice his freedom, particularly in choosing what is right and wrong; in fact, freedom is the foundation of his philosophy. There are two kinds of command: a hypothetical imperative meaning conditional king of morality and categorical imperative.Hypothetical imperative is a rule that tells us what means to be used in achieving a desired end.

This is the kind of morality that uses something to achieve the common end, in other words it is a utilitarian morality that is attached to a articular condition. A genuinely moral command is not a hypothetical impertaive. Instead, the moral law is presented to us a categorical imperative. On other hand, duty, which is dictated by the unconditional demand of reason. Kant, moral duty is absolute and is not based on any particular condition.For example, “Do not steal! ” Truly, a moral imperative is purely categorical. It is a simple command with no particular condition; thus, the test of universality is our conscience. It would feel us that it is universal and right for everyone.

Otherwise, it cannot be a universal moral law. According to Kant, if we make ourselves an exception, it means we are following our inclinations or desires and those we are not obeying our reasons. Therefore, only actions in accordance with the categorical imperative are moral.Kant thinks the Categorical Imperative is binding on rational agents simply because they are rational- in other words, a person who did not accept this principle would be guilty not merely of being immoral but of being irrational. This is fascinating idea- that there are rational as well as moral constraints on what a good person may believe and do. Kant gives several examples to explain how this works.

Suppose, he says, a man needs to borrow money, and he knows that he will be unable to repay. He therefore faces this question: should he promise to repay the debt, knowing that he cannot do so, in order to persuade someone to make the loan?If we were to do that, the “maxim of the act” the rule he would be following would be: whenever you need a loan, promise to repay it, even though you know you cannot do so. Now, could this rule become a universal law? Obviously not, because it would be self- defeating. Once this became a universal practice, no one would any longer believe such promises, and so o one would make loans because of them. As Kant himself puts it, “no one would believe what was promised to him but would only laugh an any such assertion as vain pretence. Another of Kant’s examples has to do with giving charity. Suppose, he says, someone refuses to help others in need, saying to himself,” what concern of mine is it? Let each one be happy as heaven wills, or as he can make himself; I will not take anything from him or even enw him; but to his welfare or to his assistance in time of need I have no desire to contribute. ” This, again, is a rule that one cannot ill to be a universal law.

For at some time in the future this man might himself be in need of assistance from others, and he would not want others to be so indifferent to him.CHAPTER Ill MORAL RESPONSIBILTY person can be praised or blamed. Responsibility refers to the way the decision is made or the act done whether it is deliberately or involuntary process such as ignorance or compulsion. For our human vantage, our attitudes and actions appear to be within our control, while everything else is beyond our control. To be responsible is to be able and required to give account to someone for something. The idea of responsibility, with the freedom and obligation it implies, has its place in the context of social relations.To be responsible is to be a self in the presence of other selves, to whom one is bound and to whom one is able to answer freely, responsibility includes stewardship over things that belong to the common life of the selves. The question about the one to whom account must be rendered is of equal importance with the question about the what for which one must answer.

A person may be irresponsible, of course, in the sense that he lacks the true qualifications of a elf, but if he has freedom or the ability to answer he may be morally irresponsible in the sense that he refuses to give account for the things entrusted to him.Such acts are at times objects of praise, when men submit to something shameful or painful for the sake of gaining something great and noble; in a contrary case they are objects of blame, for only a bad man would submit to something utterly shameful, if his object were ignoble. Some acts are pardonable, though not praiseworthy, as when a person is indeed to do wrong by pressure too strong for human nature that no one could esist. Yet there are acts, perhaps, we cannot be compelled to do; we should rather suffer the most dreadful form of death than to them.For instance, there is a man walking along the boardwalk overlooking the sea, eagerly making his way toward some exciting destination. Suddenly someone pushes him off the boardwalk and into the shallow water three feet below.

Getting up from the cold water, he realizes that his clothes are soaking wet and he won’t be able to get to his date. He glares angrily at the man who pushed him, blaming him, holding him morally accountable for the mess he is in. There are six possible ways to describe the man’s act. First, the man was angry at the world and Just wanted to strike back. He was the unlucky victim.

His wife had run off with another man, and he had Just been fired from his Job. He somehow reminded him of one of the people in his sad experience, and he Just lashed blindly out to him. Second, the man was mentally ill. In fact, he had Just been discharged from an institution. He cannot control episodes of sudden, violent behaviour.

Examinations have revealed a defect in his brain that most likely account for his condition. He is now very sorry, and helps him up out of the water. Third, the man has been hypnotized and ordered by the hypnotist to push someone into the water.He is not sure why he did it but believes that he pushed him of his own free will. Fourth, the man has a nervous condition that his arm shot out, knocking him into the water. Fifth, the man was actually trying to save his life.

He had Just seen the enemy behind him, ready to pull the trigger of a gun that was aimed at his hand. By pushing him into the water, the man saved him from injury and possible death. Sixth, the man deliberated about whether to push someone into the water and, realizing it ould get in seeing his plans disrupted would outweigh whatever compunction of conscience he might have later.CONCLUSION The Categorical Imperative for Kant is absolute and is based from the unconditional moral duty, which dictates the course of action that must be followed because it is right and necessary. This categorical imperative is simply dictated by the unconditional demand of reason.

The categorical imperative is also known as conscience. If you follow your conscience, you know it is something you have to do from within. Moral Responsibility simply designates the set of voluntary actions for hich a person can be praised or blamed.Responsibility refers to the way the decision is made or the act whether it is deliberately or involuntary process such as ignorance or compulsion. Kantian morality is based from within man and it leads him to moral action, which is dictated by our demands of reason to follow, since it is good in itself. It would be a morality commanding itself, not from external factors such as phenomenal or sense of moral experience.

This will lead man to a moral life. Through this, man must arrive the same conclusion where in we ought to follow what is within as through our conscience.Readers are likewise encouraged to understand Kantian morality for it will strengthen their principle in life, especially in the area of morality towards perfection. The staff of Metropolitan of Cathedral of Immaculate Conception are encouraged to value their dignity, and above all, they must learn to take care of their individual task, by something their positive qualities. Kantian’s morality can be applied in our day-to-day living; it introduces the system of morality: Moral Responsibility. We have to be morally responsible not only for our own selves but to be a self in the presence of other selves. Ellington James W.Immanuel Kant Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Hackett Publishing Company, Indiapolis, 1981.

Moore Brooke Noel and Stewart Robert Michael. Moral Philosophy ( A Comprehensive Introduction), Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, California, 1994. Rachels James.

The Elements of Moral Philosophy, McGraw-Hill, Inc. , New York, 1995. Rader Melvin, The Enduring Questions (Main Problems of Philosophy ), Holt, Rinehart and Winston, NEW York, 1903 Stumpf, Samuel Enoch and Fieser James, Socrates to Sarte and Beyond (A History of Philosophy), McGraw- Hill Companies, Inc. 1221 Avenue of the Americas New York, 2008. IJames W.

Ellington, Immanuel Kant Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis,1981 ,p. 19 2Brooke Noel Moore and Michael Robert Stewart, Moral Philosophy,( A Comprehensive Introduction), Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, 3James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, McGraw-Hill, Inc. , New York, 1995,p. 127 4Melvin Rader, The Enduring Questions (Main Problem of Philosophy), Holt,Rinehart and Winston, New 5Samuel Enoch Stumpf, and James Fieser, Socrates to Sarte and Beyond (A History of Philosophy), McGraw-Hill Companies,lnc. , 1221 Avenue of the Americas New York,2008,p. 195


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