Reg Grant, Dallas Seminary
Speaker will offer a critique of Kant’s Moral Imperative from a variety of angles.
In Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant posits a basis for morals and, at the same time, a practical postulate for the existence of God. While his argument does not constitute a rational argument for God’s existence (which Kant would have rejected in any case), it presupposes an intuitive moral response on the part of all humans that allows for the formulation of the categorical imperative (CI). The first formulation of the CI, and the one under consideration here, states that I should act only in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law. At issue is the contradiction in Kant’s insistence that knowledge regarding the existence of any absolute, noumenal reality is absolutely inaccessible, while coetaneously presupposing that an absolute standard exists against which a response (the summum bonum, the unity of desire and duty) must necessarily be regarded as universally obligatory (the categorical imperative). He can’t have his epistemological cake and eat it too.