Essay heading: Objections to the first formulation of Kant's Categorical Imperative

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Philosophy

 

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August 23, 1997

 

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5 / 1239

 

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Another example of a maxim that does not pass the Categorical Imperative test is : "Whenever anyone is better off than others, they will never give to the less fortunate". This maxim in itself does not contradict itself but it cannot be consistently willed. If the agent was to imagine himself at that moment to be a homeless person they would will that others who are better off would aid him...
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However this second will is in direct contradiction of his previous will. In this way, the agent is engaging in inconsistent willing and thus the maxim cannot be universalized. An example of a maxim which passes the Categorical Imperative test is never tell a lie. The generalised maxim would be: "Whenever anyone is asked a question, they will always tell the whole truth"...
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