1. Kant introduces two kinds of imperatives, namely, hypothetical and categorical, on p. 19. How do they differ from each other? Can you think of an example of a hypothetical imperative?

 

Answer: According to Kant, imperatives act in our life in a profound ways by acting as instructions in our life. There are two types of imperatives according to Kant which are distinguished in the bellow.

 

Hypothetical imperatives: These are goal oriented imperatives that guide us in what to do or not to do to achieve a specific aim. Actions are based on desires. If you want others to love you, you should love them as well. Other example is that if you want to build a house, you should find a good job.

Categorical Imperatives: These imperatives are not focusing on what we get as a result of the things that we do. In other words our actions are not based on our desires. For example you should love others irrespective of the desire to demand a love you back. You should find a job irrespective of the desire of building a house.

 

 

 

  1. According to Kant, an individual action is morally permissible IF it can be applied to every rational being without any problem or contradiction. The following is a chart of four actions introduced by Kant. Describe each situation and determine whether it is morally permissible, providing the reason. (pp. 24-25)

 

Situation Is it morally permissible to do so? Explain the reason.
(1)   A man is reduced to despair by a series of misfortune feels sick of life and want to take his own life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No

Reason: I believe that the person is not justified in a sense that if his personal emotional state that is making a decision about ending his life is not going to be universally acceptable. It would be counterproductive for everyone misfortunate to commit suicide

Situation Is it morally permissible to do so? Explain the reason.
(2)   A man needs to borrow money. He is sure that he cannot return the money but is faced with a dilemma of whether he should make a false promise to get the money as no one will lend him money otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No

Reason: This is not morally permissible because if the same law of self-love is applied universally, then it will provide a reason to everyone to make false promises to get personal gains and the act of making a promise itself will lose its effectiveness. No one would believe on promises. This will put those who keep their promises in an awkward situation as no one will believe them as well.

(3)   A person is in a comfortable condition. He thinks that he has talents that can make him a useful person but his comfortable conditions stress him to indulge in pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

Reason: In my opinion this is a matter of personal choice for him to seek pleasure in his comfortable conditions. The law is not universally applicable as we cannot make an assumption that there are many people who are in comfortable conditions and have high talents. This is a specific condition available to a few only.

(4)   A person is in a comfortable condition and he thinks that it is ok to not help others in trouble as it is not his concern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No?

Reason: Human beings are connected to each other. The whole concept of the society revolves around the fact that its members help each other in times of need. If we make it a law that everyone is allowed to refuse help to others in need, the whole structure of the society will collapse. People will not love and care for each other. Also ones conditions are not the same always. If he refuses to help others in need, he might be refused help when he himself is in need.

 

 

  1. How are “persons” different from “things” according to Kant? (p. 28R-29L)

Answer: Kant has distinguished between a person and a thing in a very profound manner. According to Kant, a person is something whose existence in itself is valuable. The existence of the person is not just a mean to be utilized. It is itself a destination or an end. The actions that a person takes that may be directed towards himself or at others are meaningful as they contribute to the practical laws of this world.

On the other hand Kant describes things as only the means. They do not define the end. They have conditional value. Conditions provide meanings to things. Stand alone, their existence may not be significant. While the existence of a person is unconditional. A person in itself can cause alterations to the universal laws.

 

 

  1. Kant introduces another formulation of a moral law on p. 29. Fill in the blank with the correct words.

 

Act in such a way as to treat humanity, whether in your own (person) or in that of another, always at the same time as (an end) and never simply as (a mean).