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    Luctor et emergo Ezra's Avatar
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    Default Arguments Against Kant's Formula of Universal Law

    Kant's Formula of Universal Law



    ·Objection #1: Other wrong maxims remain untouched by Kant’s theory e.g. ‘use violence when it benefits me’


    ·Objection #2: parasitism is often acceptable e.g. in the case of ‘only buy second-hand books’, and often obligatory e.g. in the case of ‘don’t accept bribes’


    ·Objection #3: some universalisable maxims do not suit the real world – elaboration of principles often leads to bad maxims

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    Luctor et emergo Ezra's Avatar
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    This really is a kind of "get involved" opening post - either elaborate on what I've said, or challenge it, and I'll develop it further.

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    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Only buying second hand books is not parasitism. And not accepting bribes is the opposite of parasitism. I have no particular love for Kant's ethics (though I happen to think them good rules of thumb), but parasitism is soemthing entirely different to what you suppose.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    I don't think Kant would say objection 1 is applicable to get Cat. Imper. (CI, let's shorten it) nor conducive to moral action - violence could never be universally enacted and still yield a good, safe world....

    In fact, If I understand Kant's CI properly (I'm still studying it), only pascifism would be the moral way to live (if you took it seriously, but no one really takes Kant that seriously IMO, only religion has that power it seems)


    Obj 3 is right on though. If we took the CI seriously and incorperated it into our behavior (even everyone at once), people would be doing all sorts of unreasonable shit that, in theory to the CI, makes perfect sense. I think the best example I've read is if a known serial killer asks you where his pray is, you can't lie or misdirect him".. (or actually, again, maybe pascifism is the moral choice here - do nothing, say nothing - say "I don't know" or "I won't tell you")

    In fact, Kant leads us into a lot of "do nothing" imperatives if you think about it.


    Huge, HUGE problems with kant!! but I love it

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    Luctor et emergo Ezra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Only buying second hand books is not parasitism. And not accepting bribes is the opposite of parasitism. I have no particular love for Kant's ethics (though I happen to think them good rules of thumb), but parasitism is soemthing entirely different to what you suppose.
    Apologies. That point was poorly explained. (I've actually misunderstood how bribery even comes into Kant at this point.) Allow me to elaborate.

    Kant would argue that parasitism is wrong, since he is against actions which rely on others acting differently from oneself (he would have to be, in order for the CI to work); however, parasitism is based on acting differently from others. The point is, though, that while only buying second-hand books does not seem a bad action in itself, it would have to be if we take what Kant says to be true. But it seems ridiculous to say that only buying second-hand books is wrong.

    One might reply that if everyone followed this maxim, there would be no second-hand books to buy, and so is wrong. But still, one is left feeling at odds with an action which we deem to be essentially amoral being called immoral. In this way, Kant's formula is counterintuitive, and no one likes that which doesn't take into account how human beings act (this is why no one likes ENTJs - they don't take anyone's feelings into account ; in an organisation, they make the decisions no one wants to make but which everyone wants to judge people for making).

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    I don't think Kant would say objection 1 is applicable to get Cat. Imper. (CI, let's shorten it) nor conducive to moral action - violence could never be universally enacted and still yield a good, safe world....
    The point is, of course Kant would agree, but his formula does not account for this, and so he is forced to disagree. Unless, of course, he reformulates his argument to include it.

    In fact, If I understand Kant's CI properly (I'm still studying it), only pascifism would be the moral way to live (if you took it seriously, but no one really takes Kant that seriously IMO, only religion has that power it seems)
    What about Kantians? I'm pretty sure they take Kant seriously.

    I think the best example I've read is if a known serial killer asks you where his pray is, you can't lie or misdirect him".. (or actually, again, maybe pascifism is the moral choice here - do nothing, say nothing - say "I don't know" or "I won't tell you")
    Apparently Kant would actually happily adopt that.

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