Kant's Universal Principle of Right and Categorical Imperative Term Paper
- Length: 7 pages
- Sources: 3
- Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #5173654
Excerpt from Term Paper :
Kant's universal principle of right and categorical imperative has yielded a heated debate on whether there is relationship between the two (UPR and CI). The debate arises on the question, "Can Kant's "universal principle of right" be derived from his "categorical imperative?" Many authors have presented their view, against and supporting. This debate is significant since it helps in realizing the impact of the juridical law on the individuals in the society. It helps in determining whether personal self-interest, concerning moral principles, would affect the action of the judicial law.
Kant intends to derive universal principle right from the categorical imperative. Kant explains that the categorical imperative represents an unconditional moral law that applies to all rational being and is independent of any personal motive or desire (Kant, 229). Further, Kant describes universal principle of right within the context of "every action is right in response to the universal law provided it is able to coexist with the principle of freedom of the will of each and all in action." The description, for the two concepts, as provided by Kant tends to relate with the UPR acting as the result of CI. The CI implies to the moral law which personal motives cannot control, Kant describes URP as allowing every action to be right provided it does not hinder the freedom of other individuals. This implies that CI gives birth to the URP according to Kant's explanation. Carrying out an action any action that does not interfere with the freedom of others helps in explaining the relationship between the two concepts. Since the categorical imperative allows an individual to perform any action independent of a third party's motive, any individual who does an action which respects the freedom of others cannot be hindered from carrying out the actions (according to Universal Principle of right) (Kant, 229). This implies that a third party would have done wrong by blocking the action of the individual.
However, an individual may feel that CI is not a derivative of UPR because the latter (UPR) involve the restriction by the freedom of others. Kant explains that the Will of the people depend on the causal structure, which must be a third party. This explanation is different to that given by the UPR, which asserts that an individual is independent of his Will. Consequently, it is easy to feel that the URP does not accord to the provision of CI since the categorical imperative allows an individual's be independent of their personal motives. The individual may feel that the UPR should not have the restriction of relying to the freedom of others if it is to be related to the CI. Further, it is also easy to confuse the concept of maxim in both of the contexts. This shows that Kant supports inclinations against the law since he argues that an individual can act from self-interest in relation to law. Kant, in his view, believes that the law cannot conflict the interest of individuals since there they have the freedom, which protects them from hindrance. The definition of categorical imperative constitutes the view that an individual's behavior should be in accordance with a universalized maxims which an individual may implies as different to the view by universal principles that an individual can make his own maxim for his actions.
Similarities and difference between URP and CI
One of the major similarities between URP and CI is that both regard individual actions as independent of the feeling of a third party. Both regards that it would be a wrongful deed if a third party intrude into hindering an individual from carrying out an action. Both of the concepts regards that the hindrance of an individual duty is a threat to freedom; consequently, the hindrance cannot coexist with freedom. According to the universal law, the obstruction to an individual's action will correspond to the obstruction of freedom. This means that for an individual to have freedom there must be no external influence that hinder him to perform the actions. The difference arises in the description of will by the two concepts differs as the CI asserts that Will is dependent on an external structure while the UPR describes Will as independent. CI asserts that is it incompressible to have Will that has no causal structure besides some external influence that arises to it. On the side of the UPR, it describes a Will as independent of any outside action and there is no external obligation. According to UPR, an external influence cannot affect an individual's need to carry out an action.
Relationship between legality and morality
The legality is an enactment resulting from the actions of the state and therefore it is stands in for the will of the state; while morality is the difference existing between bad intentions and good intentions. Even though these two terms have distinct definition, there is always a relationship between the two because of their interdependence on each other. Considering that law from the action of the state means that there are some moral principles that makes it (state) to enact the law. Both the legality and morality dictates the behavior of an individual in the society. Further, the effectiveness of a law depends on how it stands in for moral principles of individuals in the society. This implies that the good laws always serve in rousing the moral conscience of the people while also maintaining conditions that encourage morality growth (Kant, 214). Consequently, the lawmakers must always regard the moral of the people before enacting any law in the state. There must be conformity between the standards of morality and the resulting enacted law. Another relationship between the two concepts arises in the way that the individuals would conform to the law. The people' obedience to the law depends on the moral sentiments that they (people) hold in the society. The absence of full moral conscience from the society that supports a law will lead to the failure of the law. Consequently, the existence of the two concepts depends on each other.
Importance of the debate
The debate is significant in explaining whether the morals of an individual in the society can affect the decision of the juridical law. It helps in determining whether personal self-interest, concerning moral principles, would affect the action of the judicial law. The debate is important since it allows in explaining the issue of freedom in the society and the way in which it relates to the Will of the people. However, the explanation given by Kant in his two concepts UPR and CI seems to be confusion. In categorical imperative, Kant explains that the Will of the people depend on the causal structure, which must be a third party. This explanation is different to that given by the UPR, which asserts that an individual is independent of his Will. The UPR states that individuals have freedom of Will without the influence of a third party. Consequently, the debate about CI giving rise to the UPR is important in explaining whether the freedom of an individual to carry out his or her actions depend on the influence of others or not.
How Kant arrives at UPR
Kant establishes UPR from the reasoning that the action of an individual is the result of his freedom, which should not be affecting the freedom of others. Provided the action can co exists with the freedom of other individuals, any external hindrance will be a wrongful. Further, Kant's view about UPR arises from the reasoning that the obstruction (external influence) cannot exist together with freedom. According to the universal law, the obstruction to an individual's action will correspond to the obstruction of freedom. This means that for an individual to have freedom there must be no external influence that hinder him to perform the actions.
Willaschek and Nance view
I agree with the claims presented by Willaschek and against that presented by Nance. Willaschek asserts that the Categorical Imperative cannot be a derivative of Universal Principle of Rights with the base of his views arising from the difference between obeying an imperative and acting in line with it (imperative). Indifference to Kant, Willaschek asserts that it is always accidental for an individual who acts in line with an imperative to act to the prescription of the imperative (Willaschek, 50). This is true since an individual will always act on an imperative because it is the demand of the imperative.
The view about individual exercising his or her will provided it is able to coexist with the freedom of others only restricts its explanation to the compliance with the universal law. The restriction to the compliance with the universal law should not end at that point, as argued by Kant, since there is a further need to distribute external freedom in a way that does not interfere with the rightful actions of others. Willaschek is right since there is need for individuals to consider the effect of their actions…