The Categorical Imperative and 2020
Immanuel Kant was a famous philosopher, well proclaimed for his theory- The Categorical Imperative.
This theory is a deontological form of ethics. What is deontology, exactly? Well, deontology is a theory created by multiple thinkers stating that, we shouldn’t act without thinking about the consequences, (here’s the catch…) but instead we should act according to our own personal set of rules. Our own moral code of ethics. Now, any responsible citizen may think “Maybe, I should throw this chocolate wrapper in the dustbin once I reach home.” That thought crosses our mind, because we have our own code of conduct, an active conscience that prevents us from throwing garbage on the road. That is exactly what deontology is, and that is what ‘The Categorical Imperative.’ Is all about.
So, basically Immanuel Kant’s Kantian theory tells us, that our deeds should not be based on the consequences but, if they fulfil our personal duty or not. Same thing happens in the wrapper situation.
So, if you’ve understood the basics of ‘The Categorical Imperative’ can we say that it can be used in 2020, during this pandemic? Of course it can! If you wear a mask whenever you’re going outside, you should not wear it, because you and your family will stay safe and uninfected but you should wear it as a moral obligation. If you wear a mask, the people around you may not get infected. If you supposedly even carry the disease, atleast other people will not get infected. Your code of conduct should read in bold letters that “if I wear a mask, then not only will I be spared, but the people around me too!” If you stand 6 feet away from somebody, your cough droplets will not touch that person.
In my opinion, ‘The COVID-19 Categorical Imperative.’ Is a solved trolley situation. Here, you are saving both the persons you love as well as other people too.
In the trolley situation, you become the driver of a dis functional trolley, and you have two choices. Either you save one close relative/ loved one or you save multiple other people. Another mind-boggling philosophical riddle.
So, what did you think of Immanuel Kant and his ‘Categorical Imperative’?