Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of categorical imperative is one of the most important notions of Kant's practical philosophy. This concept falls under the Kantian project of the foundation of morality. To be precise, Kant does not attempt to create a new morality, but to propose a new formulation of it. From this point of view, the categorical imperative must provide a criterion that makes it possible for any human to differentiate with certainty the moral actions from those actions that are not moral. Generally, Kant calls “imperative” the formula of a command, that is, the representation of an objective principle that is constraining for the will. Since the human will is subjected to subjective motives that stem from the sensibility, the actions that are objectively necessary remain subjectively contingent so that their necessity appears for the agent as a constraint. Consequently, all imperatives are expressed by the word “ought” and indicate the ...