Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: What We Choose: An Adult Program on Ethics for Unitarian Universalists

Activity 4: Kant's Moral Law

Part of What We Choose

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story so you will be comfortable presenting it to the group.
  • Write on newsprint, and post:
    • Does the Categorical Imperative, Kant's rule for determining whether something is morally permissible, apply in the way you make moral decisions?
    • Think of a concrete moral question you have faced in your life, and the conclusion you reached. Did you use Kant's rule or something similar in choosing your behavior? If not, would you have arrived at the same result if you had applied Kant's rule?

Description of Activity


The story we will share introduces the thinking of Immanuel Kant, a famous 18th-century philosopher. As you listen, reflect back on the paper clip conversation.

Read the story aloud. Invite participants to consider the posted questions in silent reflection for two or three minutes. Then, invite participants to share questions, observations, or insights from their reflection on the story.

Note that the story includes biographical information about Kant. Ask: "Do you think Kant's social position (white, male, Protestant, Northern European, university-educated) is pertinent when assessing the ethical framework he espoused? If so, how? If not, why not?"