With respect to the Formula of Humanity, if we accept that:
A) We are each capable of acting 'on the basis of reason' (in accordance with the requirement of universal law); and
B) Rationality is our essence as human beings; and
C) To be essentially rational is to be bound unconditionally by the requirement of obedience (of the will) to rationality;
- When the object of our actions is another person, we encounter their rational essence.
- Because we have to be obedient to rationality universally, we have to be obedient to rationality in all its forms, including in him (rationality here being his capacity to act on the basis of reason).
- My obedience to rationality in him is expressed in my acknowledging that capacity (to act on the basis of reason) in him.
- I fail to acknowledge this capacity when I enslave, torture, exploit or (the example I like the most) humiliate him. For in each case I am ignoring his "setting his own agenda" through exercise of this rational capacity (to act on the basis of reason).
We are obliged not to disregard the rationality in him, however we aren't necessarily impelled to see to it that this "setting of his own agenda" come to fruition.
My question, is this: "Can we justify the disciplining of children (or even mandatory education) by a parent/guardian?" Even though this may constitute a case of acting on a maxim that perhaps couldn't be rationally acknowledged by the agent towards whom the parent, for example, is acting. Would the child agree to his disciplining if he knew all relevant facts and would such a circumstance render the action morally justifiable in a Kantian sense?
As a further point, it seems common sense that we should take care of children (perhaps in particular our own), however I wonder whether Kant provides a rational basis on which to justify what seems to be the positive duties to say, provide for our family, to nourish and protect our children. It seems that love is demonstrative, sometimes gratuitous and actually performed in an special kind of way.
How can Kan't moral schema account for this intuitively important active (rather than passive) quality to moral behaviour?
Perhaps I have missed something! Thanks.