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I'm struggling to understand Kant's categorical imperative. Kant call behaviour which is in accordance with the categorical imperative moral and the rest is immoral according to him. Okay. I get that. So.. what is it act according to categorical imperative? It is to be logical. Kant thinks that everyone is setting others examples by the way they act --> If I do it, then I make it moral to do for other people as well. And he argues that we are logical, and that we should not do things which we wouldn't like if others did them as well. But does that mean that if I would like everyone to steal than it is okay for me to steal? ---

But this also contradicts with his: 'Things are morel if you do them because you want to do good things'. If you lie to save sb's life, then you do good. Or not? Oh, I see.. He also sets the definition of doing good by the categorical imperative - which says that telling a lie is a and thing.

As I understand it, Kant judges morality of an action based on the intention, not the result. So if my intention is to save sb's life but I lie to do it, are my actions moral?

And why should we be moral? Or is it just another word for being logical?

  • @Conifold Where are you? Why have you not shed your articulate wisdom upon this untidy but worthy query? – gonzo Mar 30 at 23:35
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Kant's categorical imperative has different formulations, of course; yet each one is still a valid version of the Supreme Principle of Morality.

But does that mean that if I would like everyone to steal than it is okay for me to steal?

In the above quote, you're alluding to the First Formulation of the Categorical Imperative---"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." Applying this formulation to your example, it would not be okay for you to steal because universalizing an appropriate maxim for that action would involve a contradiction.

As I understand it, Kant judges morality of an action based on the intention, not the result. So if my intention is to save sb's life but I lie to do it, are my actions moral? 

Kant would say that your actions are immoral. An action can never be moral if it violates the categorical imperative. In Kantian ethics, actions do not derive their merit from their consequences. A lie, for example, is immoral--according to Kant--and may even produce good consequences, but the act of lying is still immoral, even if it produced the good consequence of saving a life.

And why should we be moral? Or is it just another word for being logical?

Several great replies exist for the first question above---but I think that Kant would say, that the categorical imperative is a rational mandate on every mind, and that if you're being immoral, you're not respecting the humanity of your fellow human beings. Concerning the second question above, being moral is not necessarily being "logical," but it's acting in accordance with the Supreme Principle of Morality.

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