Can we simply intuit the value of and how to respect someone's dignity, without allowing its equivalence to rational formulations as in the Universal Law of Nature Formula?

I just think that the latter has too many counter intuitive results, but feel that the former may (I've not studied Kant) capture something useful, and not equivalent to the idea of universal human value, which is an easy starting point for moral thinking.

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The Philosophers, Honderich.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Philip Klöcking, Conifold, virmaior, Nick R, user19563 Nov 24 '16 at 8:56

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  • 2
    This question is a mess regarding terms. Dignity and factual (or intuitional) grasping of CI are core concepts of Kant and exactly the reason why we need a type of it (as argued in the second Critique)... I honestly do not get what this question is about, as it seems to plainly reject the Kantian framework and then asks a question that can only be answered within some kind of framework. My first thought: It is because of you not having studied Kant that you can even think that your ideas would be in any sense original, as they are completely and neatly embedded in his practical philosophy. – Philip Klöcking Nov 20 '16 at 18:08
  • "I haven't studied X, but fairly sure X is total bunk" is not a good way to start a question or form an opinion, whatever X is. Can we simply study X first? Or at least explain what "intuit dignity and value" means with or without Kant? – Conifold Nov 21 '16 at 0:44
  • eh mind your tone. i'm sorry you didn't understand, but better to usually assume that something is just a communication issue. does the above clarify? @PhilipKlöcking i suppose you mean, verbosely, "no". that's fine – guesting Nov 22 '16 at 4:23
  • apologies for snapping. i think the issue is that i'm not / can't express myself as a philosopher might. because i don't think what i've asked is that unclear, and the thinking behind it seems totally fine – guesting Nov 22 '16 at 4:54

Kant proves three rather different forms of the Categorical Imperative to be logically equivalent, given a grounding in his own theory of thought. He realizes that different forms of the statement will appeal to people with different kinds of motivation. But his own chosen motivations lie close to mathematics and physics, so he chooses to use the "Universal Will" formulation most often. Solutions proceeding from it have a mathematical cleanliness that checks missteps driven by sentimentalization when one applies the other two formulations, which take third-person rather than first-person perspectives.

The 'Means-Ends' form of the Categorical Imperative, "A Being must be treated as an end-in-itself and never as mere means." does just what you ask. Kant elaborates this in terms of 'autonomy', which is an abstract principle including both dignity and value as effects: an autonomous being chooses to exist as more than a mere extension of another, and thus needs his own value to be respected; and an autonomous being needs deference to exercise his autonomy, which is an assertion of his individual dignity. He does consider autonomy to be intuitive to humans.

  • "does consider autonomy to be intuitive to human" that's great, thanks. i can't vote on your answer but will accept it instead – guesting Nov 22 '16 at 4:26
  • intuitive may be a horrifically off word choice within the Kantian scheme, but Kant does think humans have a priori autonomy in their use of reason. – virmaior Nov 22 '16 at 4:41
  • @virmaior I was stuck between using his vocabulary or trying to introduce a bunch of other definitions... I chose what was easiest. – jobermark Nov 22 '16 at 19:08

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