1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Question of duty and morality: Emmanuel Kant

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by phoenix_sprite, May 22, 2007.

  1. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,649
    Location:
    an ecovillage in madagascar
    Kant would be indeterminate, as Kantianism often is in morally perplexing scenarios, which is a major reason why Kantianism fails as a moral theory.

    Your phiosophy instructor probably wants you to say that Kant would save the one who's saying "save me", because Kant's main deal is "respecting humanity", with certain implications involving duties to promote the happiness of others. That said, your philosophy instructor was wrong (if that's what (s)he was looking for), Kantianism is indeterminate.
     
  2. Ayatollah So

    Ayatollah So the spoof'll set you free

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,389
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Kant's moral philosophy may have indeterminate results in some cases, but this ain't one of them. The maxim, "save the one that both agree should be saved" is universalizable. If you were in either of the drowners' situations, and the beachwalker followed that maxim, you'd get the respect you asked for. The maxim, "save the self-sacrificing-type guy" is not universalizable for the same reason.

    (And if you go that route, don't be surprised if after the guy you saved recovers, he screams at you for not saving his son. Or any of many other possibilities that fit Adamb0mb's conclusion: that these guys are privy to some info that you're not aware of.)
     
  3. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,649
    Location:
    an ecovillage in madagascar
    But the Universal Law enterpretation, as far as I've read, is a decision procedure, not Kant's moral criterion, and there's some debate among ethicists as to whether it really properly matches his moral criterion. Hence, if you followed Kant's moral criterion you'd be indeterminate, and it's unclear how or whether the UL decision procedure matches his criterion.

    I haven't studied Kant extensively though so I certainly could be wrong.
     
  4. Prince_Imrahil

    Prince_Imrahil King

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    820
    Actually the main idea behind kant's philosophy IS the universalizable maxim, Act so that you can will your action to become a univeral law. I've written an essay dismissing the whole sillyness of Kantian Deontology, especially its idea that the Consequences do not matter in his theory. And yes, the respect for persons was also part of kants philosophy. So Ayatollah So was right with his answer.

    EDIT @Phoenix... while bill3000 was right in mentioning how silly the posters were for not fully reading what "kant" would do, some people would most likely not know who Kant is, so it's kinda your fault for not doing what you expected your replyers to do...EXPLAIN.
     
  5. Mott1

    Mott1 King

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    742
    Thats what I was thinking as well.

    While I do agree with fifty that Kant emphasizes "the happiness of others" which he descibes as our duties, I believe Kant asserts that our duties are mutually inclusive with the ends. The ends being "self perfection." The ends and duties are analogous. Kant argues that reason gives us direct access to the reality of morality, which he calls practical reason. We as humans are governed by practical reason rather than instinct. From my understanding, Kants moral system is structured where it will always hold true no matter what the circumstance. The action regarding a moral decision is not judged by the consequences of that action, rather by the motive.

    For example, if doing whats right produces something bad, or if doing what is wrong produces something good, the efficacy of moral obligation may seem balanced by the actualization of the good end. On one hand you can be satisfied with doing the right thing, regardless of the the undesirable or bad result. This is often associated with the proverb: "the road to destruction is often paved with good intentions," and on the other hand you can apply reason and aim for what seems to be the best outcome, regardless of what wrongs must be committed. The latter is consistant with Kants moral system.
    Sorry for the rude interjection, I'm just an inquirying mind. Maybe you guys can correct me on my erroneuos interpretation.
     
  6. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,649
    Location:
    an ecovillage in madagascar
    First of all, what the hell is a "main idea", I'm unaware of that as a general term in moral philosophy. Is "main idea" his metaethical framework, his basic moral criterion? his theory of right action? his decision procedure? It suprises me very much for someone to suggest that the UL formulation is his main idea, I would have thought that to be the categorical imperative. UL is just one formulation that Kant advances of the CI so it seems weird that you would call it the main idea.

    While he certainly focuses on the UL formulation of the categorical imperative in the Groundwork, he also says specifically that it is the most proper formulation for "moral appraisal", i.e. a decision procedure. The scholars that I've read have suggested that the Humanity-as-an-end formulation is his criterion and the UL formulation is his decision procedure.

    Why specifically should the UL interpretation of the categorical imperitive be see as his moral criterion, and not the others enterpretation? That seems to me to be a matter of some disagreemeg amont scholars who spend their entire lives studying Kant, in the original texts, so I'm curious as to how a young philosophy student has managed to solve all the problems of enterpreting Kant?
     
  7. Prince_Imrahil

    Prince_Imrahil King

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    820
    Hey Mott, don't be sorry about your actions, or why act(post) in the first place!
    And inquiring minds are a good thing.
    Heh, though you're wrong here. The happiness of others emphasis is Util, not Deontology and Kant. As you said, Kants main idea was the 'motive' always being the moral thing, and the motive had to be one that could become a universal law. Happiness isn't even high on his list. And Kant had a few rules that should NEVER be broken. Like lying. If you had to lie to make people, many people, the greater amount of people even, happy, well no sir you can't lie.

    Kant's theory is bunk though.
     
  8. Prince_Imrahil

    Prince_Imrahil King

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    820
    10 characters
     
  9. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,649
    Location:
    an ecovillage in madagascar
    Why would he make the other formulations if UL is the moral criterion? And why would he specifically seem to indicate that it's a decision procedure in the Groundwork?

    CI as a decision procedure? :confused: I never said that the reason for the UL formulation isn't to arrive at the CI. What I'm saying is that it is not a moral criterion but rather a decision procedure.

    Where specifically does he say they are both part of the CI? I've always read them as seperate formulations of the CI

    1. I aint a philosophy student anymore :D Math and economics ftw!

    2. I'm more just scoffing at your rather strong claim that the UL formulation IS the "main idea" of Kan'ts moral theory (which I mainly did because I had absolutely no idea what you meant by "main idea"), something of disagreement among scholars. Oh and the idea that you've personally demolished some argument relating to such an important aspect of Kant to some readers. If that is the case I'd strongly suggest submitting to Phil. Review, Ethics, J. Phil, etc., as you'll find yourself accepted to every grad school under the sun with such an accomplishment!
     
  10. Prince_Imrahil

    Prince_Imrahil King

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    820
    From what I learnt, there are not 'different' versions of the CI, but the two Formulations are 'Part' of the CI... they are not seperate, one follows the other... they 'both' make up the CI.

    CI forumlation 1 :Universal Law
    and the other version us 2: humans as ends,
    but rather that the CI is that your act must be universalizable AND treat humans as ends.

    Is this what we're in disagreement about?
     
  11. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    13,725
    I haven't read any Kant but the ethics in this one is obvious:

    Save:
    Person on right, if you believe in obeying the free will of people.

    Person on left, if you believe people are really only worth helping if they understand a basis in ethics requires selflessness.


    Pretty hokey to me though :crazyeye:

     
  12. phoenix_sprite

    phoenix_sprite King

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    793
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    thanks guys for all the support

    I finnaly wrote down that he would save the one on the right with my explanation of his interpretation of the law of morality and happiness. I don't remember my answer (seriously, how many of you remember exactly what they wrote on their tests?) but I have a pretty hope for it.

    @Prince_Imnahil : Why so I explain Kant (a lot of info there) to people who just write stupid posts if I'M looking for suggestions and help? How could someone who doesn't know a thing about Kant help me (I already had a base understanding of Kant beforehand, I just wanted your opiniopns).

    Thanks again.
     
  13. FredLC

    FredLC A Lawyer as You Can See! Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,397
    Location:
    Vitória, ES, Brazil
    Since I have always liked Kant's categorical principle, I'd really like to have a look at your essay. Is it possible that you post it here, or PM me a link, if you don't want to place it in public area?

    Regards :).
     
  14. Sparta

    Sparta Emperor

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,256
    Those aren't cows!! ;)
     

Share This Page