Categorical Imperative by Immanuel Kant

Deontological ethics is a non-consequential theory that is concerned with moral obligations, duties and rights. Ethical are made based on a set of permanently defined principles or maxims that are accepted as guides in different situations. The consequences do not justify the means as it is duty bound. Immanuel Kant viewed that a moral rule or principle can only be described as a rule if they can be applied universally under relevantly similar conditions. We should always treat others as a means. Kant’s Categorical Imperative says that rational beings have to follow ethics unconditionally without personal motive involved. There are 2 formulations of Kant’s Categorical Imperative to determine whether certain cause of action is a rule to be applied universally to all rational beings: Universability test and Humanity test. We have chosen to apply Categorical Imperative through societal perspective in a film, The Village (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004).

The Village (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004) is a story about a small isolated village built deep in the interior of Walker Wildlife Preserve to keep up the illusions of the village being a rural and rustic place.

– A part of the story when Edward’s daughter, Ivy have to go out to ‘town’ to get medicine to heal her love one. –

The village was started by Edward Walker with a group who had lost their loved ones to violence in the town. People who live in the village are naïve and kind-hearted with the fear of mysterious creatures outbound the woods. The creatures are merely suits created by the elders of the village in order to prevent their posterity from going to the modern town that claimed to be a dangerous place. However, the young ones have never known what is going on in the modern town.

First Formulation – Universability Test

Steps 1: I create lies to protect my prosperity to face and confront the ugly side of the world.

Steps 2 : If all of the village elders create lies to protect their prosperity to face and confront the ugly side of the world, they will never learn how to overcome fear, the world will never improves.

Steps 3: The action is not fair to the prosterity. The elders are being dishonest and had deprived the rights of the others to choose what kind of life they want to live.

Steps 4: There are contradiction and irrationality with this situation.

Steps 5: The maxim is UNETHICAL.

Second Formulation – Humanity Test

The elders who live in the Covington village treat their younger generations as means to an end. The way in which they have created the lies and cover up of the real world outside are not respecting the autonomy and rights of the young ones. This action is UNETHICAL.

As a conclusion, Kant’s Categorical Imperative is an unworldly theory that can be apply only in certain situations in the society nowadays as there are still universal ethics such as do not steal that should be obeyed.


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