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If someone sees their existence as an end in itself, yet also admits that they did not create themselves, then are they not saying that whatever created them had done so for their [the created thing's] sake? However a Creator force would create to fulfill their own creative nature. If the created thing believes that it is an end in itself that does not make it an end in itself.

Could an almighty Creator make something that was an end in itself?

  • An "almighty Creator" can do everything. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jun 26 at 12:33
  • @Mauro ALLEGRANZA Is this an exception to your "everything"? If an almighty Creator said that He was not an almighty Creator He could not do so without lying? – C. Stroud Jun 26 at 14:37
  • My comment was a little bit "disrespectful" because I do not like this approach to philosophy that is mostly "playing with words"... What is the meaning of almighty : "having the power to do everything" ? If so, what do you mean with "everything" ? – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jun 26 at 14:44
  • @Mauro ALLEGRANZA "everything" would be all that has, is and will be in creation. – C. Stroud Jun 26 at 17:03
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    Almighty Creator can do everything that makes sense, including lying. What he "can not" do is "lie without lying", or "create a stone he can not lift". But those combinations of words are not exceptions, they are just incoherent nonsense masquerading otherwise by abusing the flexibility of language. However, there is no logical problem with someone creating an end in itself, only the psychological bias of presuming that everyone is in it for themselves somehow (well justified when dealing with humans, of course). Theists argue that God granting free will and even tolerating evil show that. – Conifold Jun 26 at 18:10
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Kant writes in Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (page 46)

If, then, there is supposed to be a supreme practical principle, and in regard to the human will a categorical imperative, then it must be such from the representation of that which, being necessarily an end for everyone because it is an end in itself, constitutes an objective principle of the will, hence can serve as a universal practical law. The ground of this principle is: Rational nature exists as end in itself.

He then states the imperative: (page 46-7)

The practical imperative will thus be the following: Act so that you use humanity, as much in your own person as in the person of every other, always at the same time as end and never merely as means.

From this one sees that being treated as an end does not preclude one from also being treated as a means.

The OP asks regarding a Creator who creates to fulfill its nature:

Could an almighty Creator make something that was an end in itself?

Following Kant's use of ends and means in the above imperative, that the creation is a means to fulfill the Creator's nature does not preclude the Creator from also using the creation as an end in itself.


Kant, I. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Translator Allen W. Wood. Retrieved on June 27, 2019 from Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/KantGroundworkForTheMetaphysicsOfMoralsWithEssays/page/n64

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In my question I wanted to explore: Suppose an almighty Creator says to themselves that they will create something which exists for its own sake, [irrespective of what the thing does or does not believe]; could such a Creator achieve this? ..The answer appears to me to be "no", because behind the words "I will create" is a desire/motive which comes before the thing is created. This motive would always exist before any "for its own sake" could be reached. This appears to me to be logical in a way that no amount of "almightiness" could break. I think, then, the motives of a first cause could not be eradicated by its own power.

  • As I see Kant's view of ends and means in Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, ends and means are not mutually exclusive. We should treat each other as ends in ourselves not merely as means: archive.org/details/… So God's having a motive for creating us does not preclude God from also treating us as ends in ourselves. – Frank Hubeny Jun 27 at 15:16
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    I formatted my comment as an answer. Thank you for this question. It motivated me to read the Groundwork. +1 – Frank Hubeny Jun 27 at 15:50
  • You might want look up the concept of Tzimtzum/Tsimtsum of the Judaic Kabbalah. It is exactly about how creation of something truly independent from the creator can be reconciled with Abrahamic conceptions of God. Kant simply said that understanding such things is necessarily beyond finite minds like ours. – Philip Klöcking Jun 28 at 8:44

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