Kantian Deontology - Part Two

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1 Kantian Deontology - Part Two Immanuel Kant s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals Nathan Kellen University of Connecticut October 1st, 2015

2 Table of Contents Hypothetical Categorical The Universal Law Formulation The Humanity Formulation

3 With those notes out of the way, we can discuss the meat of this chapter.

4 With those notes out of the way, we can discuss the meat of this chapter. Kant s system revolves around what he calls. But what is an imperative?

5 With those notes out of the way, we can discuss the meat of this chapter. Kant s system revolves around what he calls. But what is an imperative? An imperative is a statement in the imperative mood, e.g. requests, commands, prohibitions and permissions.

6 With those notes out of the way, we can discuss the meat of this chapter. Kant s system revolves around what he calls. But what is an imperative? An imperative is a statement in the imperative mood, e.g. requests, commands, prohibitions and permissions. Kant s imperatives are expressed by must statements. They tell us that we must do something, and thus are inherently normative.

7 for Kant are valid for all rational beings, not just humans.

8 for Kant are valid for all rational beings, not just humans. Some imperatives are relatively important, while others are not. But all hold objectively, in the sense that they are derived from reason and absolutely certain.

9 for Kant are valid for all rational beings, not just humans. Some imperatives are relatively important, while others are not. But all hold objectively, in the sense that they are derived from reason and absolutely certain. do not however, force action. An imperfect will can ignore imperatives as a matter of physical possibility.

10 Hypothetical Hypothetical Kant s imperatives come in two forms, the first of which he calls hypothetical imperatives.

11 Hypothetical Hypothetical Kant s imperatives come in two forms, the first of which he calls hypothetical imperatives. Hypothetical imperatives tell you what you must do in order to accomplish something.

12 Hypothetical Hypothetical Kant s imperatives come in two forms, the first of which he calls hypothetical imperatives. Hypothetical imperatives tell you what you must do in order to accomplish something. Think of this as means-ends reasoning. You have some ends, i.e. goals you want to accomplish. You must choose some means, some way to get there.

13 Hypothetical Hyopthetical Hypothetical imperatives tell you that some action is good for some purpose or another.

14 Hypothetical Hyopthetical Hypothetical imperatives tell you that some action is good for some purpose or another. Hypothetical actions don t tell us what s good full stop - it s always good relative to some purpose.

15 Hypothetical Hyopthetical Hypothetical imperatives tell you that some action is good for some purpose or another. Hypothetical actions don t tell us what s good full stop - it s always good relative to some purpose. These ends can be morally good or bad - they re just whatever you want to accomplish.

16 Hypothetical Two Kinds of Hypothetical There are two kinds of hypothetical imperatives. The first are rules of skill, which tell you what you must do for some specific end that you have in mind that might vary across persons.

17 Hypothetical Two Kinds of Hypothetical There are two kinds of hypothetical imperatives. The first are rules of skill, which tell you what you must do for some specific end that you have in mind that might vary across persons. In opposition to this you have hypothetical imperatives which are counsels of prudence, because they re about perfect happiness, which everyone shares as an end.

18 Hypothetical Two Kinds of Hypothetical There are two kinds of hypothetical imperatives. The first are rules of skill, which tell you what you must do for some specific end that you have in mind that might vary across persons. In opposition to this you have hypothetical imperatives which are counsels of prudence, because they re about perfect happiness, which everyone shares as an end. Perfect happiness isn t just momentary happiness - it s something more general. Sometimes we call it something like well-being nowadays.

19 Hypothetical How to Fulfil Hypothetical So a hypothetical imperative tells you to do something in order to accomplish some end you have. But how do we fulfil these?

20 Hypothetical How to Fulfil Hypothetical So a hypothetical imperative tells you to do something in order to accomplish some end you have. But how do we fulfil these? The first and most obvious way is to actually do what the imperative says, e.g. practice piano in order to be a good pianist.

21 Hypothetical How to Fulfil Hypothetical So a hypothetical imperative tells you to do something in order to accomplish some end you have. But how do we fulfil these? The first and most obvious way is to actually do what the imperative says, e.g. practice piano in order to be a good pianist. Alternatively one can give up on the end, which eliminates your need to do the means.

22 Categorical Categorical Categorical imperatives stand in contrast to hypothetical imperatives. They tell us what we must do, full stop.

23 Categorical Categorical Categorical imperatives stand in contrast to hypothetical imperatives. They tell us what we must do, full stop. That is, categorical imperatives don t tell us what we should in order to be happy, or to be moral, etc. They are pure commands of reason, e.g. Do not murder!.

24 Categorical Categorical Categorical imperatives stand in contrast to hypothetical imperatives. They tell us what we must do, full stop. That is, categorical imperatives don t tell us what we should in order to be happy, or to be moral, etc. They are pure commands of reason, e.g. Do not murder!.

25 Categorical Instrumental Goodness and Intrinsic Goodness Hypothetical imperatives describe what is good as a means to something else. Call this instrumental good.

26 Categorical Instrumental Goodness and Intrinsic Goodness Hypothetical imperatives describe what is good as a means to something else. Call this instrumental good. Categorical imperatives on the other hand tell us what actions are good in and of themselves. Call this intrinsic goodness.

27 Categorical Instrumental Goodness and Intrinsic Goodness Hypothetical imperatives describe what is good as a means to something else. Call this instrumental good. Categorical imperatives on the other hand tell us what actions are good in and of themselves. Call this intrinsic goodness. The intuitive idea is that intrinsic goodness takes precedence over instrumental goodness.

28 Categorical How to Fulfil Categorical Unlike hypothetical imperatives, there is only one way to fulfil categorical imperatives, namely by actually fulfilling them.

29 Categorical How to Fulfil Categorical Unlike hypothetical imperatives, there is only one way to fulfil categorical imperatives, namely by actually fulfilling them. Because there is no end in categorical imperatives there is no end to give up on and avoid action.

30 Categorical How to Fulfil Categorical Unlike hypothetical imperatives, there is only one way to fulfil categorical imperatives, namely by actually fulfilling them. Because there is no end in categorical imperatives there is no end to give up on and avoid action. Put simply, categorical imperatives tell us what we must do as a pure matter of reason, not relative to some purpose.

31 The Universal Law Formulation So on to the Categorical Imperative! Or at least part of it. Recall that it has two parts we re concerned with (two formulations).

32 The Universal Law Formulation So on to the Categorical Imperative! Or at least part of it. Recall that it has two parts we re concerned with (two formulations).

33 The Universal Law Formulation The Universal Law Formulation The first formulation of the CI is called the Universal Law Formulation (ULF). Our translation today states:

34 The Universal Law Formulation The Universal Law Formulation The first formulation of the CI is called the Universal Law Formulation (ULF). Our translation today states: I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.

35 The Universal Law Formulation The Universal Law Formulation The first formulation of the CI is called the Universal Law Formulation (ULF). Our translation today states: I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law. As this is complicated, we will spend the rest of the day discussing it.

36 The Universal Law Formulation Maxims The first important bit is what Kant calls maxims.

37 The Universal Law Formulation Maxims The first important bit is what Kant calls maxims. A maxim is a principle of action. Specifically, it is a principle of the form:

38 The Universal Law Formulation Maxims The first important bit is what Kant calls maxims. A maxim is a principle of action. Specifically, it is a principle of the form: I will do ϕ in circumstances C in order to bring about ψ.

39 The Universal Law Formulation Maxims The first important bit is what Kant calls maxims. A maxim is a principle of action. Specifically, it is a principle of the form: I will do ϕ in circumstances C in order to bring about ψ. Where ϕ is some action, C is a description of some circumstances, and ψ is some consequences or state of affairs.

40 The Universal Law Formulation Willing Maxims To figure out whether an action is morally permissible, that is, whether we can do it, we need to run it through the ULF.

41 The Universal Law Formulation Willing Maxims To figure out whether an action is morally permissible, that is, whether we can do it, we need to run it through the ULF. The first part of doing that is to formulate the maxim.

42 The Universal Law Formulation Willing Maxims To figure out whether an action is morally permissible, that is, whether we can do it, we need to run it through the ULF. The first part of doing that is to formulate the maxim. Then we must imagine, or will, what would happen if everyone adopted that maxim.

43 The Universal Law Formulation Inconceivable Universal Maxims The idea is that some maxims will produce inconceivable results when universalised.

44 The Universal Law Formulation Inconceivable Universal Maxims The idea is that some maxims will produce inconceivable results when universalised. That is, if we were to imagine a world in which everyone follows that maxim, it would be contradictory.

45 The Universal Law Formulation Inconceivable Universal Maxims The idea is that some maxims will produce inconceivable results when universalised. That is, if we were to imagine a world in which everyone follows that maxim, it would be contradictory. If this is the case, then the action under consideration is immoral, and you have a duty not to do it.

46 The Humanity Formulation Humanity as an End Recall that the Categorical Imperative (the supreme principle of morality) has two formulations you will learn.

47 The Humanity Formulation Humanity as an End Recall that the Categorical Imperative (the supreme principle of morality) has two formulations you will learn. The second formulation of the CI is known as the humanity as an end formulation, sometimes just shortened to the humanity formulation.

48 The Humanity Formulation Humanity as an End Recall that the Categorical Imperative (the supreme principle of morality) has two formulations you will learn. The second formulation of the CI is known as the humanity as an end formulation, sometimes just shortened to the humanity formulation.

49 The Humanity Formulation Humanity as an End It tells us that:

50 The Humanity Formulation Humanity as an End It tells us that: Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in any other person, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.

51 The Humanity Formulation Humanity as an End It tells us that: Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in any other person, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means. But what does this mean?

52 The Humanity Formulation Humanity s Value The idea here is that humanity, roughly our rational nature as persons, is valuable intrinsically and ought never to be violated.

53 The Humanity Formulation Humanity s Value The idea here is that humanity, roughly our rational nature as persons, is valuable intrinsically and ought never to be violated. In terms of the means-end discussion above - humanity is an end in itself.

54 The Humanity Formulation Humanity s Value The idea here is that humanity, roughly our rational nature as persons, is valuable intrinsically and ought never to be violated. In terms of the means-end discussion above - humanity is an end in itself. That is, humanity (in a person) is a self-standing end that is not adopted because of something else, or created by something else, or given value by something else. It is valuable simply by itself.

55 The Humanity Formulation Persons and Things It s here that we get the Kantian distinction between persons and things.

56 The Humanity Formulation Persons and Things It s here that we get the Kantian distinction between persons and things. Persons, like us, are those things which are ends in themselves and give rise to considerations by themselves. As we ll see later, this is due to their rational autonomy (decision-making, sort of).

57 The Humanity Formulation Persons and Things It s here that we get the Kantian distinction between persons and things. Persons, like us, are those things which are ends in themselves and give rise to considerations by themselves. As we ll see later, this is due to their rational autonomy (decision-making, sort of). Things, on the other hand, are valuable insofar as they are valued by persons, and thus are instrumentally valuable.

58 The Humanity Formulation Treating Others as Means Kant s claim is that treating people as means betrays their status as ends in themselves.

59 The Humanity Formulation Treating Others as Means Kant s claim is that treating people as means betrays their status as ends in themselves. If something is an end in itself it is worthy of consideration, and must never be treated simply as a means.

60 The Humanity Formulation Treating Others as Means Kant s claim is that treating people as means betrays their status as ends in themselves. If something is an end in itself it is worthy of consideration, and must never be treated simply as a means. That doesn t mean that it can never be treated as a means, but that it must never be a mere means; we must never use people as pawns so to say.

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