Sample Essay Paper on Kant’s Categorical Imperative

meaning and at least 1 example

According to Kant strongly, certain universal principles control and prohibit the propagation of specific behaviors in different societies. In particular, Kant describes morality as actions emanating from rational thought processes and opposes the implication of sensual impulses in decision-making processes (White, 2005). Subsequently, Kant used the concept of the categorical imperative in giving clear explanations on the innate abilities and autonomy of individuals to act based on specified universal maxims and rationality (Robinson, 2019). Kant’s categorical imperative affirms that passion and impulses do not dictate behaviors or actions among people.

Accordingly, the concept support that actions are deemed moral or immoral if the motives embody certain principles of moral worth. Such actions should exemplify maxims that would otherwise become universal laws. Kant describes the stipulated maxim as a “categorical imperative,” and believes in the existence of general assumptions and different intrinsic values guiding societies (White, 2005). Specifically, Kant’s categorical imperative assumes that people’s actions should depict how they would want others to treat them when found in a similar situation. Furthermore, Kant explains that universalizing moral laws will facilitate the equal treatment of individuals. Kant’s primary emphasis is on the recognition of people as agents of morality or ends in themselves rather than pursuing selfish ends.                

 Kant gave an example of a man borrowing money knowing very well that he is not in a position to pay despite issuing related promises. According to the concept of the categorical imperative, the man should follow on his promise and pay up the debts. From the example, Kant’s idea of the categorical imperative sought to recognize the universality of moral laws. Consequently, the man’s possible failure to pay his debts should not prevent other people from acting based on the stipulated moral imperatives (debt payments) (Robinson, 2019). In the above example, Kant reiterates that people qualify to be morally upright if they recognize the moral worth of their respective actions on other people.    


Robinson, R. M. (2019). Kant’s Categorical Imperative and Moral Duties. In Imperfect Duties of Management (pp. 11-38). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

White, J. (2005). Contemporary moral problems. Cengage Learning.