Kantian Categorical Imperative

What is the Categorical Imperative:

Immanuel Kant’s deontological moral theory revolves around the categorical imperative as its primary philosophical idea. It was first used by Kant in his Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals in 1785 as a method of assessing reasons for taking action.

Kantian Categorical Imperatives History:

The categorical Imperative concept was proposed in the 1700s by the German philosopher

Immanuel Kant

. Critique of Pure Reason and The Metaphysics of Morals are his well-known works among others. He is also recognized for his many philosophical writings. Theories on the categorical imperatives, which are a person’s unqualified moral duties are the works he is particularly well known for. As Kant defined categorical imperatives such rules and laws that must be followed by everyone no matter what people’s desires or circumstances are. These obligations are moral principles that apply to everyone. The

Universalizability Principle

is also one of Kant’s categorical imperatives. This law states that if you can accomplish something then other people should be able to do that.

Kantian Categorical Imperative Philosophy:

According to Kantian philosophy, a real moral deed can be extended and added into the category of global principles whereas a self-centered act is unattainable in the Kantian world because the conduct is inherently ungeneralizable. If we judge from a humanitarian perspective, this principle makes sense. Intended research methods and the risks posed to individual respondents to ethical benchmarks established by prior studies are regularly compared by IRB assessors. Institutional and national rules were developed as a result of the IRB’s efforts to regulate all of their investigators to the equivalent standards. The universalizability concept might not necessarily hold, nevertheless, in certain circumstances.

Implementation of the Kantian categorical imperative:

For the practical categorical imperative question yourself, “Would I be able to see each one of us else act the same way?” Afterward, frame your acts on the response. This is how you apply the categorical imperative. You can also perform several other things to assist yourself in doing this correctly, for example:

  • Pose directional inquiries.

You may question yourself, what your feelings will be if other people do the same thing which you are doing? Creating psychological self-distance while performing this could perhaps actually be helpful because it will enable you to evaluate the matter more objectively and logically.


  • Imagine the same actions by others:

Just imagine how you will feel if someone behaves in the same way you behaved towards them or the person you know very well. Or what will happen if everyone tries to act similarly?

  • Focus on Behavior Outcomes:

While practicing an action you should keep the outcomes of that action in mind. Imagine all the possible immediate and long-term outcomes and then act on anything. You should also mind the results of these actions done by others.

Not only these methods but you can also find some other methods which assist you in comprehending and employing the categorical imperative. For instance, you should set the same standards for other people which you like to set for yourself.

Kantian categorical imperative can be used to evaluate future acts as well as the acts we have done in the past. Determining this technique helps you to improve your action in the future if you have done wrong previously.

Kantian Categorical Imperative Formulations:

Kant presents a total of five formulations and then introduced two more variants in the first and third formulations so that these formulations become more comprehensible and practical. These formulations are as under:

First  Formulation

  • The Formula of Universal Law (FUL):

The Formula of the Law of Nature (FLN) is an alternative or a variant of the first formulation.

Second Formulation

  • The Formula of Humanity as End in Itself (FH).

Third Formulation

  • The Formula of Autonomy (FA):

The third formulation variant is also known as The Formula of the Realm of Ends (FRE). This alternative is usually termed as Formula of the Kingdom of Ends.