Kant’s Categorical Imperative

Nature of the concept

The concept of the categorical imperative is a syllogism

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1.The first premise is that a person acts morally if his or her conduct would, without condition, be the “right” conduct for any person in similar circumstances (the “First Maxim”).

2.The second premise is that conduct is “right” if it treats others as ends in themselves and not as means to an end (the “Second Maxim”).

3.The conclusion is that a person acts morally when he or she acts as if his or her conduct was establishing a universal law governing others in similar circumstances (the “Third Maxim”).

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