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Kant's Categorical Imperative: Summary and Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 908 words Published: 10th Jul 2018

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Explain and discuss Kant’s categorical imperative. How appropriate are his views in today’s criminal justice field?

What is an imperative? An imperative is a command like, “pay your expenses!” or “don’t execute animals!” A Hypothetical Imperative summon is based, restrictively, on the presence of a yearning, for example, “On the off chance that you want to be a Doctor, you should think about science in school.” If you would prefer not to go to medical school, then this order would not have any significant bearing due to the lack of craving. Kant’s Categorical Imperative is a command that is unequivocal, for example, “Don’t cheat on taxes.” Even on the off chance that you are longing to cheat, and this would be to your advantage to cheat, you may not do so. Ethical morality has an association with the categorical imperative since morality is to such an extent that you are summoned by it, and is to such an extent that you can’t quit it or claim that it doesn’t have any significant bearing to you. There are no uncertainties in good activity, as indicated by Kant. Morality works as indicated by a categorical imperative since we should act in a given way in light of the fact that the rationale is admirable, not on the grounds that we have assumed that we can accomplish certain goals accordingly.

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Immanuel Kant believed that certain types of actions (murder, theft and lying) were prohibited, even if the action brought happiness rather than its alternative. As a follower of Kant, there are two questions that must be asked before we act: Can I rationally expect that everyone act as I propose to act? If no, then the action is not performed.  And, does my action respect the goals of human beings rather than my own purpose? Again, if not, then the action is not performed.    Kant’s morals appear the premise of the possibility that we each have rights to flexibility, rationality and moral based attitudes. Since these rights are our own, we can make free, sound and decent decisions. Kant fights to state that individuals have a free will and ability to reason. Kant’s thinking is smart, in that he trusted that if someone happened to act ethically, then it is first fundamental to be allowed to pick between the good and the improper.

In today’s criminal justice system, Kant can exhibit sound hypothesis which is utilized by many, just as it was for a scholar of the 1900’s. Kant stresses the inability to achieve one’s own ends with certainty: I may take an act to promote some end, but nature, circumstances, and other people may conspire against me (Minkler, 1999). I read this as the atmosphere that our law enforcement are experiencing every day. Decisions are being made in the streets that appear to promote profiling or racism when, in fact, they are activities that are protecting our society. His hypotheses would, by many, be named as straightforward sound judgment in today’s law enforcement world with the categorical imperative offering clear, insightful guidelines for the individuals who wish to put a supporting hypothesis to their everyday decision making regarding crime protection and prevention. Society can depend upon our law enforcement to remain rationale to manage their activities in crime prevention reasonably, however discernment is not because of logical behavior. Kant makes clear that the fact that we can think implies freedom. That we can think proves as a practical matter that we are free. Asking anything more goes beyond the bounds of what can be proved (Weiss, 1992). In today’s criminal society a great example of Kant’s philosophy in action would be the Jeffrey Dahmer case. This solution answers the problem of Jeffrey Dahmer. The defense was attempting to prove Mr. Dahmer was intentionally performing gross acts that were created from his childhood. This theory is proven irrelevant. These occurrences as a youth are exclusive in their ability to cause mental issues. All mental and physical events have a cause. However, we must understand that Mr. Dahmer’s intentions are a mental act and assume it is free. To prove it was caused is a mistake. It depends on how it is looked at. The implications in the Dahmer case are this; If he is considered insane, he will be placed in a mental hospital rather than prison, and could be released after a year. His attorney’s felt that this was a just decision because he was not an evil man, just sick. Kant states that nothing indicates you must be well to be guilty; it says you must have the intentions to do what you did. Is an intention a free action or caused by a condition is unanswerable and should not be a question asked in a court of law. By all accounts to include legally and practically, he is a guilty person. That is determined to be enough in the philosophy realm and should be enough in the court of society.


Minkler, L. (1999). The Problem with Utility: Toward a Non-Consequentialist/Utility Theory Synthesis. Review Of Social Economy, 57(1), 4-24.

Weiss, M. D. (1992, Feb 11). Immanuel kant on the dahmer case. Wall Street Journal Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/398293483?accountid=8289


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