Essay heading: Kant v. Mill

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October 4, 2007






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Kant thought that moral laws or principles must have universality to be rational. He derives the categorical imperative out of the notion that we should be willing to adopt those moral principle that can be universalized, that is, those which we can imagine that everyone could act upon or adopt as their principle...
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Thus, the first formulation of the categorical imperative is, "Never act in such a way that I could not also will that my maxim should be a universal law (P.31)." By maxim, he means the rule or principle on which you act. Consider the example Kant gives of giving a false promise. Making false promises is wrong and therefore could not be a universal law, because every rational being would not adopt this as a principle of action...
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