Kant’s Categorical Imperative and the Moral Worth of Increasing Profits

  • Karsten M. ThielEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter is an introduction to the categorical imperative and its application. The categorical imperative is applied in order to find out about the moral worth of a particular action. However, Kant does not apply the categorical imperative to actions immediately. In fact, he evaluates actions by reflecting on the maxim inherent to an action. It is important to realize, first, that the fact that a particular action has moral worth does not imply that this action ought to be accomplished. Second, an action with no moral worth is not immoral, at least not necessarily. This chapter focuses on the most difficult case of actions, which Kant calls action in conformity with duty. Most interpreters argue that Kant is a purist and a rigorist for whom an action in conformity with duty cannot have moral worth. This chapter, however, questions this view.


Business Profit Self-interest Ethics Immanuel Kant Categorical imperative Hypothetical imperative Evaluation Moral judgment Moral worth Duty Obligation Purism Rigorism 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

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