6

What is a maxim? Jens Timmermann argues in his not translated book "Sittengesetz und Freiheit" (DeGruyter, 2003), Chapter IV, that there are at least three different senses in which Kant uses the term "maxim". The one important for the question is neither what could be called "basic principle", nor what could be called "...


5

I wouldn't call it a bold hypothesis; its been generally affirmed through out history despite suffering that being human means, and of humanity in general. Of course, the absolute worth of humanity in Europe had been under-pinned by Christian Theology; and whilst this continues, a break in morality has occurred as acknowledged by Arendt and others; and this ...


5

It's taking me a bit of concentration to parse your question. First, you are correct that for Kant the objective and the universal form a set (I'm a bit wary to suggest they are identical). Second, I think you're misunderstanding Kant's idea of universal when you write: As I understand it, objective or absolute value means universal value. And surely ...


4

Kant raises a distinction between what he calls perfect duties and imperfect duties in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and again in the Metaphysics of Morals: Doctrine of Virtue. You have the basic definition in hand: a perfect duty is one which one must always do and an imperfect duty is a duty which one must not ignore but admits of multiple ...


4

Part 1: Why can Neigungen not be universal? I think this comes down to lost in translation. I refer to the CUP translation of the German-English edition by Timmermann and McGregor, quoting the important part, because it is much closer to the original style and meaning (4:428): All objects of inclinations have a conditional worth only; for if the ...


4

The terminology of hypothetical and categorical imperatives is rather specific to Kant. Roughly, hypothetical imperatives give commands conditioned on one’s purposes (if you wish to succeed in life study hard, etc.), while categorical imperatives are unconditional, absolute. The problem with authentic examples is that according to Kant “There is therefore ...


4

One of the most influential and thorough who is also recent and still alive is Jurgen Habermas. He developed a very detailed system of ethics called Discourse Ethics often seen as a branch on Kant's categorical imperative due to his criteria of ethical acts requiring universalization. By universalization, he means that all people could accept this moral ...


3

Kant makes no such argument by which I mean Kant does not identify the categorical imperative with a "phenomenal 'guess.'" For him, the Categorical Imperative is a conclusion of reason and the limitations in his Critique of Pure Reason apply to understanding. To put it another way, on Kant's account, that the CI is written in a book is trivial. That the ...


3

Freedom is a transcendental condition for the Categorical Imperative to be real. And the four different formulations mean exactly the same for him. I will argue how for Kant, the possibility of the experience of a categorical imperative presupposes freedom as necessary in his mature ethical system. Before that, the systematic relation between freedom and ...


3

The main problem behind the categorical imperative is understanding the notion of maxims. While your intentions may be quite concrete, your maxims are already abstract/general. Maxims of acts, according to Timmermann in "Sittengesetz und Freiheit" (no translation available as far as I know, while some of this may be included in his Cambridge Edition of the ...


3

Old question, slightly changed. The answer is: Person A should have never given that promise to Person B. Person could and should have known that the two promises could end up contradicting each other, and that therefore giving both promises is a (or could lead to a) performative contradiction (For Person A, in that moment after B committed the crime, has ...


3

There is a huge literature by contemporary Kantians, nearly all of whom reject specific parts of Kant's program. I think Philippa Foot's "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives" offers a nice revised understanding of how one might orient Ethics around the Categorical Imperatives Kant describes. But it rejects core ideas of Kant's about categorical ...


3

Kant writes in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: The above three ways of representing the principle of morality are fundamentally only so many formulae of the selfsame law, one of which of itself unites the other two within it. However, there is yet a dissimilarity among them, which is indeed subjectively rather than objectively practical, namely ...


3

Finding out whether a proposed maxim is, in fact, a valid categorical imperative goes something like this: Suppose everyone followed the maxim, x. If everyone followed the x, does a contradiction in terms result? If a contradiction results, x is not a valid maxim. Otherwise, x is a valid maxim. An Example: Suppose lying were always justified and that all ...


3

Offering a specific advice on a specific problem does not amount to offering an ethical maxim to be followed generally. If "the individual will liberally use it" as such it is their responsibility (assuming they subscribe to Kantian ethics) to make sure that it is properly universalizable. At most, you owe them a warning that the solution offered has ...


2

We are absolutely allowed to discipline children on Kant's view, and this does not pose a conflict. Kant does not believe children are fully rational. Perhaps, this is merely a bias of his, but it makes it so that we have no reason to not raise up children through a moral catechism (again as in your other question, it is quite clear you've only read the ...


2

This is a quite difficult question because Kant, so far as I know, never offers a definition of lying. But we can draw some contrasts that help make clearer Kant's understanding of the nature of lying. Lying is not simply making a false statement Truth means for Kant the agreement between facts and the proposition about them. The agreement between these ...


2

The answer in a nutshell is: don't be ridiculous. You are taking the CA in far too crude a manner as a mandate of absolute "universality," almost as a synonym for behavioral cloning governing the specific "content" of judgments, as opposed to their "form." Kant was obviously a modern philosopher, for whom worldly contingency, radically specialized divisions ...


2

Two thoughts. First, for Kant himself, it is never the case that the categorical imperative comes in conflict with itself. In other words, Kant rejects the idea that there are conflicting moral principles and we must choose among them. Second, the problem you pose does not even demonstrate conflicting moral principles or a situation where the categorical ...


2

I personally like the idea that what we have perfect duties to acquire and exercise character traits such as generosity and benovolence, because it seems reasonably intuitive to say that we should never have a deceitful character nor a competitive attitude, but that honest people can still lie. Alongside the imperfect duty to e.g. give to charity, like ...


2

Before getting your specific example, we should specify a few things. First, there's more to Kant than just the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (you called it "Foundations" -- let's stick with that). There's also the Metaphysics of Morals itself ("MM"), and of particular concern to us, the Tugendlehre (which the second half of "MM") which is often ...


2

The only "power" in question is rationality (freedom from natural laws, both in perception and action). A nice summary of the distinction of faculty vs. mere receptivity can be found in the Anthropology, § 7. The categorical imperative and kantian morality in general does not take into account any factual (empirical) power or equality, but moreso faculties ...


2

His argument has five steps on the way to objectivity (why moral principles have to be ojective for Kant is a different question): Step 1: Only rational beings have a will. The will is thought as a capacity to determine itself to action in conformity with the representation of certain laws. And such a capacity can be found only in rational beings. (4:...


2

You are not alone in thinking that the categorical imperative is flawed in that it can be circumvented simply by additional specification. Alasdair McIntyre concluded that it "Imposes restrictions only on those insufficiently equipped with ingenuity", by which he meant exactly the point you are making, that your maxim can always be sufficiently specific to ...


2

Kant himself offers ideas of how to apply the formula in Ak. 429-30. I will quote and parse the text in order to highlight the guidance he himself has given for this particular formula (translations from Kant, I. (1785/2011), Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals: A German–English edition (M. Gregor & J. Timmermann, Trans.), Cambridge, MA: Cambridge ...


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