Presentation on theme: "KANT 2 IMPOSSIBLE TO UNIVERSALIZE IMMORAL PRINCIPLES."— Presentation transcript:
KANT 2 IMPOSSIBLE TO UNIVERSALIZE IMMORAL PRINCIPLES
Immanuel Kant 1724-1804 Central Idea: We are rational beings, so self-ruled. Therefore, a set of laws which all rational beings can follow is thereby moral.
Two Main Forms of Categorical Imperative LN) Law of Nature form: Act only on a maxim that you can at the same time will to become a universal law of nature. HE) Humanity as End form: always treat humanity (whether your own or someone else’s) as an end, never solely as a means. Kant claims the two forms are equivalent, but never adequately explains why.
The Four Examples 1. Suicide is forbidden. Maxim: If my life promises more evil than satisfaction, then I will shorten it out of self-love. LN form: Kant argues that a natural law that destroys life out of self-love would contradict itself. HE form: In suicide one treats one’s humanity as a means.
The Four Examples 2. Borrowing on a false promise to repay the loan is forbidden. Maxim: If I need money, then I will borrow it falsely promising to repay the loan. LN form: If maxim became a law of nature, no one would believe such promises, and the loan would be impossible. HE form: loaner is treated as means by loanee; loaner could not accept false promise as satisfying his/her ends.
The Four Examples 3. Not developing one’s talents is forbidden. Maxim: to save trouble I will not bother to develop my talents. No impossibility is implied under LN or HE, but impossible to will, since rational beings want their talents (powers) developed.
Duties: Perfect vs. Imperfect Perfect duties (examples 1 and 2) Universalization of maxim results in an impossible state of nature Imperfect duties (examples 3 and 4) Universalization of maxim cannot be willed (the will would “conflict with itself”) though the result would be a possible state of nature
The Four Examples 4. Not helping those in great need is forbidden. Maxim: to increase my ease, I will not help others. BUT “… a will that decided this would conflict with itself, since many cases would occur in which one would need the love and sympathy of others and in which, by such a law of nature arisen from his own will, he would rob himself of all hope of the assistance he wishes for himself.”