6 votes
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Kant's universalization explained, How does one universalize a thing?

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 ...
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5 votes

Does human existence have absolute worth?

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 ...
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5 votes

For Kant, why are all preferences only conditionally valuable?

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, ...
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4 votes
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For Kant, why are all preferences only conditionally valuable?

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 ...
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4 votes
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What are some examples of categorical imperatives/universalizable maxims relevant to modern ethics?

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 ...
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4 votes
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The best definition on what is moral/good

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 ...
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3 votes

In Kant, how do Universalizability and Freedom relate to each other?

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 ...
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3 votes

Is Kant's first axiom precise?

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, ...
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3 votes

Contemporary literature on Kantian ethics?

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 ...
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3 votes
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Kant and the Categorical Imperatives

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 ...
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Is the following application of Kant's Categorical Imperative valid?

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 ...
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For Kant, is it immoral to offer solutions that may backfire when generalized?

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 (...
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Is the Categorical Imperative Simply Bad Math? :)

You are correct that the CI does not mandate any specific code of behavior. The CI says: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal ...
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2 votes

Kant on Positive Obligations (to children)

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 ...
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2 votes

What does it mean for Kant for someone to lie?

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....
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2 votes

Is being a philosopher immoral according to Kant?

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 ...
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2 votes

Are there counter examples to Kant's perfect duties?

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 ...
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2 votes
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Mutually exclusive obligations under the categorical imperative

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 ...
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2 votes

Kant's second formulation

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 ...
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2 votes
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Categorical Imperatives and Imbalances of Power

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 ...
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2 votes

Why does Kant consider "rational agents," humans, as ends in themselves and not means?

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 ...
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2 votes

Is there an answer to false positives/negatives of Kant's categorical imperative?

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 ...
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2 votes

Applying the Mere Means principle

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 ...
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2 votes
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Universalizability reductio ad absurdum

One aspect of the universalization test these examples overlook is its mention of “maxim.” A maxim is a rule of action, implicitly laid down by an actor in the actor's will. One way to characterize ...
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2 votes

Categorical imperative vs. Consequentialism

When deontologists apply the categorical imperative, "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.", in layman terms "...
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