Universalized Maxims äs Moral Laws The Categorical Imperative Revisited by M. Shalgi, Haifa The nature and meaning of the formulas given by Kant to the Categorical Imperative in the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals1 has been a perplexing problem for generations of students of Kantian moral philosophy. For a long time since the publication of the Groundwork hardly a satisfactory explanation has been forwarded to both the question of the meaning of these formulas and their role in Kant's ethics. A major point in an outstanding theory of morality has thus remained obscure, loaded with difficulties -- to the discredit of Kant's thought. Led by Kant's language, particularly by that of the first formula of the Categorical Imperative in the Groundwork2, and by the assumption -- heavily stressed by Kant -- that the moral law does not rest on any empirical element but is aprioristic and formal in nature, the traditional Interpretation of the Categorical Imperative regarded it äs a practical test for distinguishing moral from immoral action. The test was supposed to be based upon a principle of logical consistency, i.e., the morality of an action can be determined by whether the maxim upon which the
Kant-Studien – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1976
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