Philosophy 240 Roberts The Categorical Imperative From the point of view of the willing agent: 1. Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature. (30) From the point of view of the person/s affected: 2. Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means. (36) From point of view of willing agent as one person among others: 3. So act as if your maxims were to serve at the same time as a universal law (for all rational beings). (43) Act in accordance with the maxims of a member legislating universal laws for a merely possible kingdom of ends. (43) ********************************************************************************************************************************************************* Should I make a lying promise in order to get money that I need? Hobbesian reasoning: No, if in civil society, because there is always a chance that you will be caught and punished. Utilitarian person's reasoning: Maybe, it depends on the details of the circumstances and the expected consequences. Utilitarian policymaker's reasoning: No, because if everyone lies the ordinary practices of borrowing money will collapse and they are useful and beneficial practices. Normal Golden Ruler reasoning: No, because I don't like it when people lie to me to get me to give them money. Cranky Golden Ruler reasoning: Yes, because I don't care if people lie to me, they do it all the time. Kantian reasoning: No, because I cannot will that my maxim be a universal law. (A world in which everyone lies to get out of tight spots is a world in which no promise can succeed in deceiving; it is a world in which lying promises cannot function as lying promises. Thus a world in which everyone makes lying promises is inconceivable.) Or, no, because to make a lying promise is to use another merely as a means and not as an end. (The person lied to cannot consent.) Should I help others who have to contend with great wretchedness? Hobbesian reasoning: Yes, if in civil society, because it will make others more likely to help me and generally maintain peace. Utilitarian person's reasoning: Yes, because doing so will lead to a greater balance of pleasure over pain than not doing so. Utilitarian policymaker's reasoning: Yes, because if everyone does this there will be a greater balance of pleasure over pain than if they don't. Normal Golden Ruler reasoning: Yes, because I would want someone to help me if I had great wretchedness to contend with. Cranky Stoical Golden Ruler reasoning: No, because I never want to have anyone's help no matter how wretched I am. Kantian reasoning: Yes, because I cannot will that my maxim be a universal law. (I cannot will that a policy of not aiding be a law of nature and also will the means to ends I cannot give up. A world in which everyone is necessarily self-sufficient is one in which I will be deprived of the necessary means to rationally required ends. Hence my will, will contradict itself.) Or, yes, because not aiding would be a failure to treat humanity as an end in itself. Aristotle and virtue theory- nicomachean Ethics Need to remember: happiness- getting desires satisfied Everyone has a different on what happiness is because everyone has different desires and inclinations. People like Mill think that this is the only source of desire in the world. Aristotle will be talking about what happiness is. He is assuming eudaimonia (Happiness) this is describing live well. He?s not like Mill because Mill is looking for a standard right and wrong, Kant says which actions have moral worth, Aristotle wants to know how we should live. Everyone will say that they want to live well and be happy. Then the question is who?s wrong about what happiness is? When you push people to explain what they?re really aiming at for happiness they say they want a good life or to live well. This is the very end of the explanation. BUT people have different ideas of what the good life is. The only thing they have in common is the different ideas of the good life. You can?t prove someone wrong about their opinion of the good life. You can talk someone out of it by showing them the different ends. What is happiness? Life of pleasure? What is wrong with pleasure in Aristotle?s view? Animals may live in pleasure?wouldn?t you want to have a better life than an animal? Life of wealth? What wrong with wealth? Wealth is just a tool to get things. So it?s not a candidate of happiness. What you get with it is what may make you happy. Life of honor? What?s wrong with honor? By honor he means something that comes from other people. You want honor as an indication of your virtue. You should live in a way that makes you worthy of honor from other people. It?s not your life it?s other people?s lives. Political life (a life of virtue)? Happiness (the human good) is the end that is complete without qualification, since it is always chosen for its own sake and never for the sake of something else. It?s always what is at the end of the chain of what you?re doing. Happiness is (self) sufficient, that is, by itself is makes a life choice worthy and lacking nothing. 1. For anything that has a function (ergon), its good depends on/lies in that function. So you can get at their good by looking at their function. Function does not mean end, it means nature. The argument goes for anything that has a nature or characteristic activity. Example: Knives: Cut, sharp (a good knife), cut well. SHARPNESS IS THE VIRTUE OF KNIVES. Humans: think/reason, a good human will reason well. What is it about a human that is parallel to the sharpness of a knife? It has to be a life with virtue. 2. If human beings have a function then the good of human beings will depend on/ lie in that function. 3. The human function is activity of soul in accord with reason or requiring reason. By soul he means that things have souls if they?re alive. Our psychological capacities. Non-rational: Growth and nutrition: biological has nothing to do with reason Emotions and passions: he thinks these are sort of rational because they can be responsive to reason. So they can be controlled by reason. Emotions can be rational and non-rational. 4. The function of a thing is the same in kind as the function of an excellent thing of that kind if we add superior achievement in accordance with the virtue of that thing. 5. The human good is virtuous or excellent rational activity of the soul in a complete life. Virtue Intellectual Moral: has to do with reason and emotions What if I don?t want to be this rational human being? You will have the most pleasant life if you are this way because you will be taking pleasure in the things that are most naturally pleasant. If you do the right thing but you hate it then you are not completely virtuous. For example, vegetable are good for you, but if you make yourself eat them when you actually hate them then you?re not being virtuous because you don?t want to eat these. You should want to eat them to be virtuous. If you?re only doing these because of your reasons and not for your individual happiness then you will not going to be happy. It?s not a question of right and wrong. It?s a question about how you want to be How do you become this sort of person? Practice virtuous actions. ?But for actions in accord with the virtues to?(p 25) Know: you have to understand what you?re doing. Decide: you have to choose to do it for its own sake and not for the sake of something or someone else. If you do this then you see that it?s good for you. A firm and unchanging state: you have to behave this way all the time and you have to get pleasure from it.
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