However, his moral theory—the “categorical imperative”—does not seem to imply absolutism, as many think.
I will discuss two reasons people think Kant rejected the importance of the situation for morality: (1) They confuse universality with generality, (2) they confuse hypothetical imperatives with situational ethics, and (3) Kant said we should be honest no matter what.
Ermanno Bencivenga argues that Kant’s categorical imperative was developed in an attempt to understand and describe moral rationality rather than a comprehensive moral theory to be used in practical everyday moral reasoning.3 Kant’s theory is incomplete in the sense that it’s not obvious how the imperative can our ought to be applied because we don’t fully understand rationality and we need to know what a rational person can will. Hare, when people insist that there can be no situational considerations of universal laws, we must point out that universality and generality are two different things.
Different conceptions of rationality could effect the answers the categorical imperative give us: Depending on how the concept of a rational agent is articulated, some forms of behavior will be required (or ruled out) by the kind of logical argument indicated above; that is, this kind of argument will prove them (or the avoiding of them) to be a . Moral laws are morally whenever they apply to everyone in the same way—but situational requirements can apply to everyone in the same way.
We found out that the world is round, and previous assumptions that it’s flat are irrelevant.
In the same way a proper use of the categorical imperative can’t be disproven by previous assumptions about morality.If we could use the categorical imperative to prove that surgeons shouldn’t cut people to heal them, then we could think the categorical imperative was proven false.Some people use Kant’s “fanatical” devotion to honesty as evidence that Kant’s categorical imperative requires us to accept such absurdities.If it is, then, fourth, ask yourself whether you would, or could, rationally It is clear from above that Johnson thinks “circumstances” can make a difference.It’s not obvious how to apply the categorical in various situations.Hare thought that Kant confused universality with generality, but that is not obvious.What is obvious is that many people do seem to confuse the two. Hypothetical imperatives aren’t situational Categorical imperatives are overriding because they apply to people no matter what their interests or desires are; but hypothetical imperatives depend on our goals.Such a devotion does not indicate that the situation makes no difference to morality because there might simply be some actions that are wrong in every situation, and they might always harm people more than the alternatives.Second, it’s not obvious that Kant’s reasoning used in this essay dismisses the situation or consequences.I will then discuss two reasons to think Kant realized that the situation can be relevant to morality: (1) it is pretty much impossible to understand morality without taking the situation into consideration and (2) Kant discusses the importance of harming people and “humanity,” but actions can only benefit people in certain situations.Kant’s first formulation of the categorical imperative is an understanding about how to determine if an action is right or wrong, and it states, “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” I take this to mean “act only in accordance with reasons that would apply to all similar situations.” A universal law can take the situation into account.