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Kant and the Categorical Imperative
Terms in this set (20)
the categorical imperative
-it is the foundational (supreme) principle of morality.
-"i ought never to conduct myself except so that I could also will that my maxim become a universal law"
-it has unconditional, universal reason-giving force
-it is the only practical policy that gives every rational creature a good practical reason to act and does so independently of every other possible consideration (e.g. what they desire)
-it commands via pure practical reason
Kant's deduction of CI
1. the only thing that is unconditionally good is the good will
2. the good will is a will that acts from duty alone
3. acting from duty alone consists not in acting from inclination and desire, but out of respect for the moral law alone (i.e. doing the act for no other reason than it is the morally right thing to do)
4. every practical policy except CI requires that a person have a certain desire or inclination, imperatives of skill and prudence
5. the only unconditionally good thing is acting in accordance with CI
-Kant is claiming that an action's moral worth is tied to two concepts: those of moral duty and moral law
-imperatives that command a rational creature to do some action, but they are selectively binding: that is, if they bind, they only bind certain agents...those agents that desire some given end. for the act is merely a means to securing that end. as such, if they have that desired end, then they ought to so act; if they fail to have that desired end, then it's false they ought so act. accordingly, we can say that an imperative i is hypothetical if i is an imperative of the form "Do act A (if you desire y)."
-imperatives that command a rational creature to do some action, but they are not selectively binding: that is, they bind categorically. put differently, they bind all agents irrespective of their desires and interests. accordingly, an imperative i is categorical if i is an imperative of the form "Do act A (irrespective of your desires/interests)."
imperatives of prudence
-imperatives of the kind such that they command the doing of an action where the end that is willed is the (direct/immediate) pursuit of happiness. they specify a means to happiness.
-ex: make friends so as to be happy
imperatives of skill
-imperatives of the kind such that they command the doing of an action where the end that is willed is something other than happiness (even if those ends contribute toward happiness). they specify a means to something else
-ex: exercise so as to maintain your health
imperatives of morality
-imperatives of the kind such that they do not specify a means to an end, but represent a way of willing (determining what to do) based on what is morally right (where a rational creatures being disposed to will to act in this way is one and the same thing as having a good will)
-ex: do not torture infants
-according to Kant, if there are imperatives of morality, they can only be of the categorical type
It is analytically true that we ought to follow the imperatives of skill and prudence
-imperatives of skill command by practical necessity
-insofar as a person S is practically rational, if S wills some end, then S must also will a means to that end
-since being happy is the end that all humans desire, we cannot fail to follow them and be practically rational
-itself engenders a "respect" for the moral law, and such respect, as we discussed, compels a moral agent to act
-although it's analytically true that we are bound by imperatives of skill and prudence, it is synthetically try that we are bound by the imperatives of morality
The Formula of Universal Law (CI1)
-a person S's act A is morally right off S's maxim m is consistently universalizable
The Formula of Humanity (CI2)
-a person S's act A is morally right iff for every rational agent R (including S) involved in A, S does not treat R as a merely instrumental good, but respects their dignity (that is, treats them as an intrinsic, unconditional good as well).
The Formula of Autonomy (CI3)
-a person S's act A is morally right iff A is such that it is in accordance with a set of maxims s that would be enacted into law by a legislator and member (i.e. citizen) of a realm of ends
CI1 Decision Procedure: The Universalizability Test
1. Formulate a maxim
2. Universalize the maxim
3. Check for consistency
-a maxim m is consistently universalizable iff it is logically possible for a rational agent R1 to act on m even if every other rational agent R2, R3...Rn were to engage in the exact same act
-if logically consistent, no one gets special privileges
-if a maxim is not consistently universalizable, then it would be practically irrational to act on that maxim. this is because doing so would defeat one's purposes, namely, what one wills.
-ex: consider again cheating to get an "A" in a class: since everyone who takes a class for a letter grade wants an "A," everyone would cheat; if everyone cheated, then no assignments would be given where cheating is possible; if it would logically impossible o cheer then it's practically irrational for me to cheat.
-a maxim m is consistently universalizable iff m implies neither a contradiction of conception nor a contradiction of will
No Contradiction of Conception Criterion
-if a maxim m implies a contradiction of conception, then the action concept of m makes it is logically impossible to will that every rational agent act in the exact same way
No Contradiction of Will Criterion
-if a maxim m implies a contradiction of will, then m is contradictory with the rational agent's standing intention
-I will the means necessary to achieve my willed ends. That is, it's the self issued command to (attempt to) pursuer my will ends. second, SI is standing intention given that it is an intention that every rational creature always has operating in their will. for instance, say Smith wills the end paying off her bills, the insofar as she is a rational creature, she cannot fail to will some means toward that willed end as well.
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
Kant / Ethics
Kant and The Moral Law/ The Categorical Imperative
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