Philosophy/Kants categorical imperative
Does the categorical imperative provide a reliable guide to good action?
Dear Yofti Petros,
Well, it's a pertinent yet very difficult question. As with many questions (probably most of them) relating to the theory of morality and ethics, i.e. of human action and of it's value, there is no ready answer. Everybody has to answer them by him-/her-self, with one's own insight, experience, beliefs and presuppositions accepted or rejected etc. You and me, we are of no exception to this general situation.
Returning to Kant and your question. Some claim he doesn't, and present a criticism of the Kant's position. Some claim that he does, and present an apology of his statements and a rebuttal of the critics. You should read them both, or even - all three of them (Kant, those criticizing Kant and those defending Kant) and then judge them (their arguments) by your own judgment. Only then will you know for yourself. The most important criticism of Kant's theory of morals and of the categorical imperative have started with Arthur Schopenhauer, and you could find many good sources on the Internet. Let me quote just a few of them, found relevant after only a short look at them (if after a longer look you will find some of them irrelevant, please excuse me, as I am not a specialist in Kant, which you should have known - or at least: you could have known before asking me this question).
Best would be of course if you first read the original source texts yourself, starting with Kant:
see: e.g. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Kant%2c%20Immanu
- only then passing to his critics, starting with Schopenhauer:
see: e.g. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Schopenhauer%2c%
But if you don't have time or patience enough, you may use some shortcuts (reading some reliable summaries, or some selections of quotations with some good comments).
You may of course start with Wikipedia articles, they present good links to external resources:
(in the bottom you have links to wonderful articles in the Routlege Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Selections of quotations:
For a good starting point on both the criticism and defence of Kant and on other positions in the domain of ethics see the "Moral Philosophy Through the Ages" by James Fieser: https://books.google.pl/books?id=9Jl2x7G1G90C&pg=PA173 (contrary to most of the books in Google Books, here it is possible to read the whole book online and not only single pages dispersed here and there). I am not a specialist in Kant to be able to find for you good defendants of his theory.
But for that purpose you may read an answer already ready or ask a new question one or two of the other experts in philosophy here in AllExperts.
If you take a look at: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Philosophy-1361/index_all.htm
you will find that out of ca. 1280 (32*40) questions in philosophy answered so far, there are 2 questions which contain the word "imperative" and 28 questions which contain the word "Kant". Have you read them (I haven't read them today, butr Kant is not my special field of interest). Some of them are written by experts who are not active any longer with all Experts, but some are written by those active still, Steven R. Storch and J.M.J. West.
J.M.J. West http://en.allexperts.com/q/Philosophy-1361/indexExp_100798.htm
who in his profile writes "I can answer questions on - but not limited to - (...) Kant (...)" seems to have only three answers to questions relating to Kant to his credit, among them two not having the word "Kant" in the title of the question:
On the contrary Steven R. Storch http://en.allexperts.com/q/Philosophy-1361/indexExp_4938.htm
does not present himself as a specialist in Kant, yet has to his merit 6 answers with the word "Kant" in the title and three more relating to Kant but without this word in the title:
Why so? I don't know. Who knows what factors influence those asking the questions to choose among the experts available willing to answer them? Probably the self-description in the expert's profile is not the most important one, if ever taken into consideration. Another example of such a situation, your choice of me to answer a question on Kant, seems to confirm this constatation.
The fact that you have chosen me who have put the following words into my profile to describe myself and my special area of expertise within the vast domain of philosophy:
"I can answer questions concerning Eastern (Oriental) philosophies and philosophers (Indian, Tibetan, Indonesian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese (...))" etc. - (let's spare the space), shows to me that you have probably not read it at all. Otherwise I cannot understand your choice of me as your expert. But I do not want to be impolite and to just reject your question with a very simple yet very precise direct hit prepared for me (and for those in a situation similar to mine now) by the AllExperts service: "This is beyond my expertise". That's why I have written to you what I have written (This is the so-called Pontius Pilate's Third Rule of Argumentation), doing my best and hoping only that you are not disappointed too much (in fact, you shouldn't, if you are really philosophically inclined, only a beginner; and you should, if your question was related to your homework or class assignment - but then, please read my profile again, especially the section "Instructions to Questioner").
All the best