One of Hannah Arendt's claims about the more abstract side of totalitarianism was a resistance to doing things "for their own sakes," but so where everything was made to subserve an ever-future, indeed unattainable, goal. But I seem to recall another philosopher, years later, trying to describe right actions in terms of there being (A) a set of default good actions being performed "by the universe itself"/in general and (B) individual good actions being those which are stable parts of some hyperaction composed (via unrestrictive mereology or not) out of these parts and the default set.

Firstly, then, assume that there are meaningful self-referential imperatives. "C: Comply with this imperative C," "G: Play this game G," "R: Run this program R," might be such examples. In a way, the actions they command are equivalent to the act of command in itself. So these are in-themselves imperatives, and carry some of the formal value of in-itself deontology as parsed by Kant or, in her own way, Arendt.

Question: since by themselves, those in-itself imperatives don't seem to have any ethical significance, then what if we were to compose, "Comply with this imperative," by conjunction with some other imperative? E.g. "Dispose yourself to helpfulness," or something, so that we have, "Comply with, 'Comply with this imperative,' and with, 'Dispose yourself to helpfulness.'" As we add more and more bricks over time, is Kantian deontic coherence then an image of how we can compose more and more imperatives with the core in-themselves commands? Or are there easier ways to reformulate categorical imperatives than conjunction of weird/self-referential commands with outwardly directed commands?

Addendum: epistemic self-commands

As there is the knower paradox for the liar paradox, is there a knower's imperative and pure self-imperative together? As in, "Know this imperative," alongside, "Comply with this imperative"? Or since issuance of a command is something that itself can be commanded, take, "I: Issue this command I" (c.f. "A: Ask this question A?"). But so if there are logics for other epistemic categories (understanding, say), then how do these relate to, "Understand this command," and the like? But I mean less to ask those questions directly, and more to show that the grounds we have for asking them play into the grounds we have for looking for in-themselves imperatives anyway: the abstract justification procedure that we can imagine for such bizarre prescriptions should be reflected in a justification procedure for other prescriptions (which will, to be fair and sure, involve reflection also on empirical factors, to ground their concrete particularity as issues of their own).


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