Categorical Imperative and Consequentialism

According to Kant law controls whole nature and everything in nature exist under certain laws. Wise people are supposed to behave according to the rules of the law and its values. This competencey is called will. As the reason is must for the origin of actions from law, will is considered to be a practical reason. Emotions, passions, self control are good in many ways and they build inner piece of the person. The good will is good as it is good of itself. The formula, universal law principle indicates that sensible nature prevails as a justification to an end. Human beings necessarily consider their own existence as a means to an end thus the law is a subjective principle of human actions. This principle applies to all rational beings generally and experience does not suffice to determine things about them and also in experience humanity is not perceived as the end of men but, as an object that people make their end. People’s actions are limited by the values of humanity and acting in a sensible manner (Kant, n.d., 310). An example of formula of universal law is thou shall not kill; thou shall not cheat and others.

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The formula of the end-in-itself, holds that laws establish the ends with consideration to their universal justification thus from all satisfaction of their personal needs, people can focus on a whole of all their needs in an orderly correlation, a whole of sensible agents as ends in themselves as well as of the specific ends in which each may set for itself. Thus there arises a systematic union of rational beings through common objective laws. The agent acts according to the realm of needs as a member when he or she provides universal ends in it while the agent is obligated to the laws of nature (Kant, n.d., 315). An example of formula of the law of ends is business law.

The Kantian theory explains two roles of the CI procedure in moral deliberation: First to support a deliberation of duties and secondly to offer an algorithm for moral deliberation. The idea of derivation of duties, implies that the CI procedures enables people to achieve an “N Commandments” of morality, for instance, thou shall not make deceitful promises, ignore the needs of others and so on. Kant says that conflict of duties is inconceivable although there are two conflicting grounds of obligation. Herman objects this and says a society without duties or public moral rules can be applicable only in a society of moral saints where variation in moral expectations would be tolerated by the known sincerity and wish to be moral.

The interpreters and critics view Categorical Imperative as a principle of moral judgment. Herman argues that the two traditional interpretations of the Comparative Interpretation are flawed and instead of CI procedures, he proposes a set of rules for moral deliberation or judgment in the case a person in certain situations with a given intention can assess the permissibility of a proposed action or deed. Critics argue that the derivation-of-duties model raises rigorist ethics of duties and obligations, that is, the CI procedure is assumed to be a source of absolute, exceptionless prohibitions. Herman (p. 191) argues that the perception is driven by insensibility to moral complexity and righteous absurdity in requiring, for instance, people keep promises, cheat on each others, regardless of the consequences.

Kant calls the Critical Interpretation the “Typic of pure practical judgment” and does not offer a variant of it in the critique of practical reason as the rule of judgment by which the scholar’s maxims of action can be measured. Kant argues that the typic account is presented as the formal statement of the rule along which people choose what is right or wrong, that is, rule of deliberation. The typic account does not specify whether its methodology should be used for deriving duties or for moral deliberation.

Kant’s second interpretation of the CI procedure is the moral-deliberation model. Kant supports this idea by deriving imperatives of duty which he uses to show that the formal principle derived from analysis of the unconditioned expectations of morality is a moral principle. Kant argues that the role of the critical procedures is to support the regulation of moral deliberation. Moral law functions in the conscience of every reasonable person and makes one to determine one’s actions through an intuitive appeal of a criterion of universalizability. If people perceive moral principle as the formal analysis and elaboration of one’s intuitive way of moral reasoning, the CI procedure offers the moral deliberation and can be asked as “What if everyone did that?”(Herman, 1993, 147).

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The moral-deliberation interpretation of the CI procedure is based on the maxim of action, that is, the subjective principles of agent’s willing. The maxim as seen as a circumstance and interest-specific and use of maxims could only yield duties only if all an action’s maxim is rejected. Thus the role of the procedure can be interpreted as determining an agent’s moral judgment or deliberation.

However, Kant’s critics argue that such a method of deliberation would not be probable to introduce the rigid moral prerequisites. This theory would also allow agents to act in very varied manner in similar moral situations if they were really acting on different maxims. Permissibility or the eventual results of the CI procedure would in a way be an outcome of each actor’s perceptions and judgments.

Herman identifies two problems challenging the moral-deliberation model. First is that no such principle that would support or generate public moral rules since social uniformities and pressures of mutual intelligibility, likely would perceive things the same way and act to the same maxims. Secondly there would be classes of maxims that people would agree no one could act.

The Kant’s theory on CI procedure is supposed to provide a method for the moral judgment of maxims. It is used by agents to make deliberations on the permissibility of their own maxims. Since maxims are context-sensitive, challenges with settling maxims undermine the role of the theory.

Consequentialists commit themselves to the view that certain values should be promoted rather than honoring them. Consequentialists are of the opinion that whatever principles a person or institutional agent adopts, the right reply to these principles is to uphold them. The agent should adhere to the principles, if honoring them is part of upholding them, or is necessary so as to uphold them. Consequentialism holds that the correlations across principles and the subjects as a fundamental action, that is, subjects are expected to offer whatsoever efforts with the intention of upholding a designated principle, even actions that do not instinctively adhere to it.

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However, there are at least some values that call to be honored whether or not they are thereby promoted. In some cases the relation between the principles and agents are perceived to be non-instrumental, that is agents are expected or at least allowed to let their actions exemplify a designated value, even if the action makes for a lesser realization of the value overall. For instance if a person or ordinary values condoned rape, that would only be in circumstances where there was a great potential prevention of the catastrophe and where there were not the bad consequences involved Non-consequentialists say that values such as values that are associated with loyalty and respect should be honored rather than promoted (Pettit, n.d., 209).

Singer argues that human life is valueless. Why are the donors doing so? Does it benefit? Should the givers be praised or criticized for their action?

According to Immanuel Kant, an action has a moral value only if one does it with an intention of serving others. In cases where an individual acts because he or she derives fun from doing it, or likes seeing its effects, these actions have no moral value to the other agent, because if the person does not like what he does, then he would not have done it, and one is accountable for what he prefers doing or does not. Also one is accountable for their submission to the sense of duty. Philanthropists such as, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Warren Buffets and others are motivated by their sense of duty (Singer, 1972, 10).

While consequentialists argue on the theory of justification, deontologists stand for the theory of deliberation. Phillip Petit argues that consequentialism makes nothing unthinkable. It would not permit agents to admit any constraints on their actions, whether the constraints are associated with the rights of other people as independent agents or constraints associated with the claims of the people who relate to them as intimates or dependants. Deontologists believe that human actions should be guided and predetermined by the society. It is unusual to respond to overwhelming unattended need with the imagination that one must do everything. According to deontologists both responses leave the feeling of intractable guilt that undermines moral seriousness and commitment (Mill, n.d., 27).

Works Cited

Herman, Barbara. The Practice of Moral Judgement. Harvard University Press: Massachusetts, 1993. Print.

Kant, Immanuel. Foundations of Metaphics of Morals. Houston, TX. The Liberal Arts Press, 1959. Print.

Mill, Stuart. Utilitarianism. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Inc, 1975. Print.

Singer, Peter. Famine, Affluence, and Morality. NV: Spring Publishers, NV. 1972.

Pettit, P. “Consequentialism”, A Companion to Ethics, Oxford: Blackwell, 1991. Print.

Categorical Imperative and Consequentialism
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