• Theologian
    104
    Kantian deontology has been criticized on many grounds. I would like to advance what is, to the best of my knowledge, a novel criticism: that Kant’s first formulation of the categorical imperative forbids – literally – everything.

    “Kant’s first formulation of the CI states that you are to ‘act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law’ (G 4:421)”

    SEP https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/

    In a Kantian sense, “The form of a maxim is “I will A in C in order to realize or produce E” where “A” is some act type, “C” is some type of circumstance, and “E” is some type of end to be realized or achieved by A in C.” (ibid).

    However, when it comes to ethical maxims, Kant takes that whole universality thing very seriously – and very literally. All that stuff about context and motive gets gutted out, and we are left with the raw act itself. Which is why, famously, Kant believes that it is always wrong to lie, no matter what your context or motive might be. You wouldn’t want everyone to lie all of the time, so lying is wrong. So you can’t even lie to save a life. To borrow a term from grammatical theory, Kantian deontology is “context insensitive.”

    It’s also important to observe that it’s not enough for a behavior to be describable in terms of some maxim that you would be happy for everyone to follow all the time. If the behavior can be described by any maxim that you would not will to be universal, the behavior becomes unethical. Again, lying is wrong, so lying is always wrong, and it doesn’t matter what else the lie may happen to be: a beautiful sonnet, a sublime haiku, or an order for steamed hams. It’s a lie, so it’s wrong: end of discussion.

    There are many problems with this. But the one I want to raise here is that with a little creativity, literally every behavior can be described in such a way that it fits some “maxim” (as Kant uses the term) that you would not be happy for everyone to act in accordance with all of the time. This becomes especially clear as one begins to describe behavior in ever more minute detail.

    For example, most of the time I’m okay with people squeezing their fingers. But if a particular finger happens to be wrapped around the trigger of a gun, and that gun is pointed at my head, then absolutely no, squeezing that finger is right out! And unless you happen to feel differently about guns pointed at your own sweet noggins, then no more finger squeezing for you, my dear Kantians!

    Or take that most presidential of activities: inhaling. Most of the time I’m quite okay with people inhaling. It’s close to being a universal maxim. But if that person is me, and somehow I’ve found myself in the presence of Sarin nerve gas, then... no, no, absolutely not!!!

    And so on.

    As I said, Kantian deontology can be attacked on many grounds. This is merely one argument I have come up with. Beyond the usual invitation to comment implied by any posting, I would be especially interested in hearing from anyone who knows if this argument has been made before, or who thinks they can find a flaw in my argument.
  • Kippo
    128

    You are right in a sort of reduction ad absurdium sense I guess.

    But also, a fault in his maxim that I see is that people often do different things. For example some people want lots of children, others none. According to the maxim either choice is disastrous for humanity!
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    If the behavior can be described by any maxim that you would not will to be universal, the behavior becomes unethical.Theologian
    No. Metaphysics of Morals. If categorical imperatives (CIs) compete, then one rules and the others fall away. Figuring out CIs, nearly as I can tell, is not an exercise in mathematics, rigorous and precise, always leading to the correct CI; rather it's an art, and the duty is to do the best you can. "Best you can" meaning the best you can.

    As to Kant's imperative not to lie, his well-known example, and the better known reply to a critic, it's not an easy read to understand. It is an easy read to misunderstand. I submit you have not understood it, and commend it to your attention for the read it deserves. It's quite a three-pipe problem.
  • Theologian
    104

    You are right of course that my argument crucially hangs on the segment of my post that you have quoted.

    I have not read Kant first hand, and make room for the possibility that I am simply wrong about this. Kant's works have a reputation as very lengthy tomes in which every single paragraph is a dense uphill slog. The truth is I'm not quite sure I have sufficient interest for that. Sometimes it's just easier to go out on a limb and see if someone else can kindly come along and saw that limb off for me. :wink:

    But...

    Even if you're completely correct and Metaphysics of Morals says what you say it says, I'm not sure that isn't just a further argument against Kant's first formulation of the CI.

    Doesn't Kant's whole distinction between a hypothetical imperative as a conditional command, as opposed to a categorical imperative being an unconditional command, absolutely forbid exceptions to any categorical imperative? Once you have an exception it becomes a conditional command, and therefore a hypothetical imperative.

    Or, to say much the same thing in language more consistent with my OP, an imperative can't be contingently universally willed.

    Meaning that, by definition, you can't ever have one CI overrule another. Once it's been overruled, even once, it's not a CI anymore.

    In fact, if Kant says what you say he says, if anything this seems to be an even more fatal flaw in his ethical system than the one that I suggested in my OP. To allow one CI to overrule another is to remove the logical basis of the entire system.

    Or so it seems to me.

    I am only a humble student. As I said, I am quite ready for this limb to be sawn off!

    :smile:
  • Mww
    723
    Only categorical imperatives serve as conditions for moral dispositions, hypotheticals are confined to general, that is, ethical, applications;
    No universal law may ever follow from a hypothetical imperative*;
    Categorical imperatives do not “compete” with each other, nor does any one displace any other, for the excruciatingly simple reason....there is only one**;
    Deontological moral philosophy is “contextually insensitive” because it is grounded in pure practical reason, having merely a logically consistent idea as its fundamental principle, that idea itself being “contextually insensitive”;

    * “...hypothetical imperative only says that the action is good for some purpose, possible or actual...”

    ** “....There is therefore but one categorical imperative, namely, this: Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law....”

    The flaw isn’t in Kantian deontology, it’s in the frailties of human nature.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    Categorical imperatives do not “compete” with each other, nor does any one displace any other, for the excruciatingly simple reason....there is only one**;Mww

    Oooooo! Don't make me dig out my Metaphysics... and prove you wrong. Too late! I'm on it!
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    I have not read Kant first hand,Theologian

    Your assignment is to go to you local library and take out a copy of Critique of Pure Reason and start to read it. You will be astonished in several ways. You won't finish it in a week or two, but your appetite will be whetted and you will want your own copy. Then just look for a copy, used or new, with a good binding that will last.
  • Mww
    723


    I’m using the Gutenberg online tenth Thomas Kingsmill Abbott edition, 1895, IPad reference pagination is 535 of 1265. Translations may differ, but the gist should be consistent.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    I've lost my copy (gnashing of teeth) - probably gave it to the local library. I shall immediately replace it with a used copy. Philosopher wanna-bes can be grateful their books of choice are not popular! Any road.

    Here is the book at Amazon

    https://www.amazon.com/Kant-Metaphysics-Cambridge-History-Philosophy/dp/1107451353/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=the+metaphysics+of+morals&qid=1560268719&s=gateway&sr=8-3

    Use the "Look inside" function and scroll to page 19 - a bit of a scroll - and see "A conflict of duties...". It is also just (a bit) below a marginal reference: [6:223]. Maybe that will locate it in your text.

    If you meant that the form of the CI is one, then I agree. But then the form does not itself tell what to do.

    I'm about to look for the text you reference.
  • Theologian
    104

    If you just do a search of critique of pure reason pdf, you'll get a lot of options.

    EG http://strangebeautiful.com/other-texts/kant-first-critique-cambridge.pdf
  • Mww
    723


    Gutenberg has the Meiklejohn translation, downloadable to Kindle for IPad or PC, with click-able chapters and sections. Lots easier if one has an idea what he’s specifically looking for.

    Still not as satisfying as a book, though, methinks.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    In my opinion not a book that can be profitably read online. A decent copy, postage included shouldn't be much more than $10. And caution, the book in question is The Metaphysics of Morals, not Groundworks... or Fundamentals...
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    Gutenberg has the Meiklejohn translation, downloadable to Kindle for IPad or PC, with click-able chapters and sections. Lots easier if one has an idea what he’s specifically looking for.Mww

    Can't find your reference. can you locate it in the Amazon "Look inside"? And you're in Metaphysics... and not Groundworks..., yes?
  • Wittgenstein
    64

    Lets consider the statement " do not lie "
    Consider that you are a german living in nazi Germany and you are hiding a jew in your house.
    An officer of nazi police knocks at your door and inquires whether there are jews residing in your house.Will you tell the truth or lie.
    kantian ethics does not take care of delicate situations like these where a universal law fails to appear moral.But kant would argue it is the act which matters and the will.
  • Mww
    723


    Correct. The maxim tells what to do. The imperative is just the form what to do either should (hypothetically) or must (categorically) take.
  • Mww
    723


    Hang on.........

    Wrong book. Mine is from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, sometimes called Groundwork, yes. Kant, and Abbott, call it F. P. M. M., 1785.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    You need to read your Kant so that you understand what he wrote, not what you think he wrote or ought to have written. Until you do that, and on this particular subject he's not easy, you're out of court. You can search this site's discussions on this topic; it's revisited every so often. Or you can search online for Kant's "on a presumed right to lie" - I think that ought to turn it up.

    My understanding of his point just here is that If you lie, you're part of the "action." If you don't you're not. Meaning just this: your lie could accomplish exactly what you do not want, whereas the truth may do no harm. Maybe when the Nazi comes to your door, you should just shoot him/them!
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    Groundworks... a waay different book, as the title suggests. I cannot find your reference - I don't have your pagination. Have you found my reference in Metaphysics...? I'll engage with yours when I read it - or is mine conclusive? May I gloat yet?
  • Shamshir
    425
    Again, lying is wrong, so lying is always wrong, and it doesn’t matter what else the lie may happen to be: a beautiful sonnet, a sublime haiku, or an order for steamed hams. It’s a lie, so it’s wrong: end of discussion.Theologian
    Lying through all those examples, is dirtying those examples.
    Which is to say, if in lying you happen to gift someone a gold ingot, you'd be gifting it with dirty hands.
    Yes, you're giving something precious and beneficial - but you're giving it away dirtied.
    So you're always detracting?

    As to the topic title, there's a bit of an issue.
    Let's run the ferris wheel again; I say it cannot forbid literally everything, without forbidding 'forbidding literally everything'. It nulls itself out, and allots for not everything - but anything.
    If it forbids literally anything, it would grant all choices, rather than null them out; and would make the statement much more practical, in the sense that you could maintain a stance of absolute good.
    Whereas you can't, if it forbids everything.
  • Wittgenstein
    64

    I just read a little on presumed right to lie.
    Most arguments in favour of lying say one of these things.
    1.Lying manipulates the situation and makes you the cause of whatever result/end that may come out of a scenario.It also means you are treating the matter as means to something else, but you do not know the end, hence telling the truth should be treated as an act in of itself.
    2.The murderer is responsible for the act of killing and it is not your act, hence you are allowed to lie.
    3.You may not answer the question or explain the matter in truthful terms.
    4.The moral framework of kantian ethics does not apply to this situation as the nazi Gov is unjust in its nature.

    Can you point out some objections to these arguments.Btw, l am not well versed in kant and once l have free time, l would consider reading kant extensively.
  • Mww
    723


    OK...found it, read it. It appears we’re mingling your conflict of duties with my singular C.I. Yours comes from The Metaphysics of Morals, mine comes from The Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals. We can discuss each concept, duty and/or imperative, but I don’t think we can discuss how they relate to each other, for the formulation of the imperative is a conscious practical act of reason and is always antecedent to our abiding by it, whereas duty is a necessary human attribute which makes such abiding possible.

    Kant’s moral philosophy is every bit as confusing as his theoretical epistemology. There’s a lot of reference material from which to pick one’s personal axioms, to be sure.

    Yes, you may now proceed to gloat, but only because you are right in what you say, not because I am wrong in what I say. Half a gloat? Partial gloat. Something less than a full-blown gloat.
  • Theologian
    104
    I say it cannot forbid literally everything, without forbidding 'forbidding literally everything'.Shamshir

    I can't fault your logic there! And truthfully, that hadn't occurred to me.

    Kant says only to act in ways that you would allow everyone to act, all the time.

    My response to that is that if you apply some creativity, you can describe any action in such a way that your description (or "maxim") also fits some behavior that you would never want to become universal.

    Take, for example, what I am doing right now: typing a string of characters into a keyboard. Now, most of the time I'm completely fine with allowing everyone to do that. But if that string of characters happens to be a launch code that kicks off thermonuclear Armageddon, then I am absolutely not! So according to Kant, I must now and forevermore judge typing to be a deeply immoral activity!

    To drop the word "forbidden" and express the point in more Kantian language, I would not want everyone to follow a maxim that says "execute everyone who engages in philosophy!" Therefore I would not want the practice of acting on maxims to become universal. Therefore acting on maxims is itself immoral!

    But...

    Don't forget: this is an ethical debate, not an ontological one. Kant's CI goes to what is ethical, not to what exists. So if acting on maxims itself is immoral, that does not mean that maxims cease to exist. It could just be taken to mean that we're steeped in sin no matter what! So rather being cancelled out in a double negative, I would suggest that my fundamental point is now doubly true!

    Or, in the immortal words of Saint Bartholomew, who himself was quoting from Homer, "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't!"

    On a completely different note, If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read the other posts in this thread, especially tim woods'. I admit to only knowing Kant at second hand, and so must make room for the possibility that he is right when he says things like
    It is an easy read to misunderstand. I submit you have not understood it, and commend it to your attention for the read it deserves.tim wood

    But tim, if you're reading this too, I respond that there are a LOT of books I really need to read. For now, while I would be a fool not to at least make room for the possibility that I have misunderstood (or perhaps I can honestly say "been misinformed about" Kant), you have not convinced me that that is the case.

    If you could quote specific sections of the text that support your view of what Kant is really saying, I would be more convinced! :wink:
  • Shamshir
    425
    Kant says only to act in ways that you would allow everyone to act, all the time.Theologian
    And that works well, if you take in to account that Kant was being specific - of 'the box', as it were.
    If you go outside the box, then it might get a little washed out, but not to deny its specific application, as we'd simply end up in another 'box'. I'll hereby honourably name this the Matryoshkant.

    My response to that is that if you apply some creativity, you can describe any action in such a way that your description (or "maxim") also fits some behavior that you would never want to become universal.Theologian
    Perspectively, you're on point.
    An easy example would be if two people who stood face to face held the maxim of 'always go right'.
    Though they go right, to each other they go left.

    If you blur the lines a bit, Kant's idea is fully valid in use with absolutes - but will get you dizzy if you try to apply it from a point of view/reference.

    Take, for example, what I am doing right now: typing a string of characters into a keyboard. Now, most of the time I'm completely fine with allowing everyone to do that. But if that string of characters happens to be a launch code that kicks off thermonuclear Armageddon, then I am absolutely not! So according to Kant, I must now and forevermore judge typing to be a deeply immoral activity!Theologian
    No, no, no, my dear.

    I would say, that even though typing a string of characters leads to a thermonuclear Armageddon, the string itself is harmless. So you should not be judging the writing, but the intent behind it - which I would think is the whole reasoning behind Kant's proposition.

    In somewhat short: Typing is a neutral tool, like a stone. You may use it to build walls and temples or kill others.
    You should not be judging the stone, and thus applying your maxim to the stone - but to its intentions, building or killing. So 'tis not writing to be found deeply immoral, but the intent to harm - regardless of the activity.

    Or, in the immortal words of Saint Bartholomew, who himself was quoting from Homer, "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't!"Theologian
    That's a good one.
    But, the trick therein lies with 'You're damned'. You're damned a priori, so that's all that matters and the rest is filler. It would be the same if you weren't damned.

    You're six feet tall if you do eat an apple and you're six feet tall if you do not eat an apple.

    But will you be six feet tall if you do eat an apple or don't? This I do not know.

    Finally,
    Therefore acting on maxims is itself immoral!Theologian
    I would be inclined to say this applies to vernacular maxims and their connotations, but not to absolutes who pertain but to themselves.
  • boethius
    176
    I think is doing a good job explaining Kant obviously knew that "always jump" and "never jump" aren't categorical imperatives of which one or the other must necessarily (or potentially so) be followed by all people all the time.

    However, I would like to add a little historical perspective that I think is useful in understanding why Kant just doesn't come out and say "well, obviously lie if the alternative is to give the true code for a nuclear bomb to a person intent on blowing up the city or entire world".

    Kant did not know about nuclear weapons.

    Likewise, the Mafia wasn't a big problem at the time that obviously needs infiltrating. Governments had not yet decided it was a good idea to make illegal popular products people would buy anyways leading to global scale criminal networks that threaten the honest functioning of governments.

    Most of the obvious counter examples to Kant's "lying is bad" are fairly modern. Kant did not live in a world with weapons of mass destruction where nearly everyone believes we need spies to try to protect state-owned weapons of mass destruction and prevent non-state actors from developing their own.

    In Kant's day it was a matter of debate whether spies were required for warfare or whether it was "un-gentlemanly" for aristocrats to spy on each other and read each-others mail. Germany was not a democracy. But Kant was not a radical non-violent person, even though he wanted peace. Kant viewed favourably the French revolution (or at least in a nuanced way that did not outright condemn it) ... just not that a similar movement is required in Germany.

    These are not difficult positions to take in Kantianism if it is a universal principle to "overthrow intolerable tyranny when necessary ... or very likely necessary", which he can then claim "it's not so intolerable in Germany, nothing to see here".

    From a Historical perspective now (of WWI and WWII clearly being far more violent events than a German democratic revolution prior to WWI), it seems obvious Kant was wrong, but Kant didn't have this convenient perspective; and history has also proven Kant right, that violent revolution is not always necessary to go from tyranny to democracy.

    So we can certainly strive to find hypocrisy in Kant's political views, but even if we take his stance that "no one should ever lie" at face value, Kant lived in a time where this was far more plausible than now and he couldn't start his argument with examples like "well, obviously we wouldn't give a mad man the codes to arm the nuclear device", and so we don't see Kant dealing with these examples.

    A better reading of Kant is to try to imagine examples that would be obvious from Kants perspective and whether it's plausible they can be dealt with without lying (Gandhi and MLK achieved political objectives without the need to lie, whether we think they are liars or not), and then of course consider if Kant leaves "a way to a more important categorical imperative" if the need to lie does arise (just as Gandhi and MLK didn't rail against under-cover police and spies protecting nuclear weapons).
  • Echarmion
    383
    To borrow a term from grammatical theory, Kantian deontology is “context insensitive.”Theologian

    No, I think you are mistaken here. Kant's moral philosophy is not at all context insensitive. I think you're misunderstanding how a maxim works in general. A maxim is a principle of acting, it's not the "raw act" itself. The context is embedded in the principle. Almost no CI will be as simple as "do not kill". It will almost always be a conditional statement: "Do not kill for your own convenience". This is also, obviously, where the motive for the act is relevant.

    Again, lying is wrong, so lying is always wrong, and it doesn’t matter what else the lie may happen to be: a beautiful sonnet, a sublime haiku, or an order for steamed hams. It’s a lie, so it’s wrong: end of discussion.Theologian

    You're using a very popular example but missing the very specific reason why lying, in particular, is "always" wrong (I think it's debatable whether or not that's actually a reasonable conclusion to draw). Kant argued against "benevolent" lying on the basis that when you tell a lie, you become responsible for the (unpredictable) long term consequences of the lie. It's a bad example to choose because Kant's logic here is specific to lying.

    But the one I want to raise here is that with a little creativity, literally every behavior can be described in such a way that it fits some “maxim” (as Kant uses the term) that you would not be happy for everyone to act in accordance with all of the time.Theologian

    Yeah but that's backwards. The maxim guides the action, or else it's not a maxim. An action can be categorised under any number of maxims, but that is wholly irrelevant to Kant's system. Kant is concerned with the formation of the will, the "motive".

    For example, most of the time I’m okay with people squeezing their fingers. But if a particular finger happens to be wrapped around the trigger of a gun, and that gun is pointed at my head, then absolutely no, squeezing that finger is right out! And unless you happen to feel differently about guns pointed at your own sweet noggins, then no more finger squeezing for you, my dear Kantians!Theologian

    Where is the maxim here? "I will never squeeze my fingers" is obviously not a universal maxim.

    kantian ethics does not take care of delicate situations like these where a universal law fails to appear moral.But kant would argue it is the act which matters and the will.Wittgenstein

    In the case of lying, Kant was concerned that by lying to change the trajectory of someone's actions, you'd become inextricably linked to that altered trajectory. So that, for example, if your neighbor also sheltered even more Jews, and not having made an arrest in your house, the Nazis would then discover them instead, it'd be partially your fault for lying. Whereas if you tell the truth, it's the Nazis free decision what to do with that information. You can't be blamed for the truth.

    An interesting argument, but somewhat removed from the general merits of Kant's moral philosophy. Unfortunately, it has come to dominate all discourse on it.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    Show of hands here - how many have actually read any Kant?
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    Yes, you may now proceed to gloat, but only because you are right in what you say, not because I am wrong in what I say. Half a gloat? Partial gloat. Something less than a full-blown gloat.Mww

    I'd be glad to share the gloat halfsies, if you can help me find your reference.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    But tim, if you're reading this too, I respond that there are a LOT of books I really need to read. For now, while I would be a fool not to at least make room for the possibility that I have misunderstood (or perhaps I can honestly say "been misinformed about" Kant), you have not convinced me that that is the case.
    If you could quote specific sections of the text that support your view of what Kant is really saying, I would be more convinced!
    Theologian
    I trust you realize what a manipulative whine this is. What you probably do not recognize is - well, never mind.

    Kant's Categorical Imperative (CI) comes in three flavors, three versions. First, "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." You borrow, but then decide not to repay. If everyone did that, then no one would lend. Note the destructive boomerang effect. Your not repaying is destructive of borrowing/lending, and ultimately self-destructive.

    Second: "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end." Kant writes carefully. Note he allows for the treatment of persons as means to an end, but only if at the same time as an end.

    And third: "Thus the third practical principle follows [from the first two] as the ultimate condition of their harmony with practical reason: the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislating will."

    Another third, perhaps more familiar: "Act according to maxims of a universally legislating member of a merely possible kingdom of ends."

    Each of these could be unpacked at length. For example, "practical reason," what is that? Kant wrote a book on it. And, why a "merely possible kingdom of ends"? Why does he refer to "persons" and "rational beings"? Why not just "people"? Be good enough to memorize the four CIs. It will save you much trouble.

    Now your list.

    1.Lying manipulates the situation and makes you the cause of whatever result/end that may come out of a scenario.It also means you are treating the matter as means to something else, but you do not know the end, hence telling the truth should be treated as an act in of itself.Wittgenstein
    I can't make sense of this. Find and read Kant's argument.
    2.The murderer is responsible for the act of killing and it is not your act, hence you are allowed to lie.
    This is without thought. You presuppose a right to lie. Think it through.
    3.You may not answer the question or explain the matter in truthful terms.
    What does "may" mean here? "Must"? Or it's an option?
    4.The moral framework of Kantian ethics does not apply to this situation as the nazi Gov is unjust in its nature.
    This simply means you have no idea what "the moral framework of Kantian ethics" is. It means further that you presume to be dismissive of ideas you don't understand.

    It's worth noting that the CIs are not specifically prescriptive. Thus there can be a variety of maxims - choices of actions - under consideration. That's why in my opinion using Kantian - deontological - ethics is something of an art rather than an exercise in, say, arithmetic. But as noted under "A conflict of duties," there can be no conflict. You just have to figure out which is right, not to be confused with what you want or what you suppose is right.
  • Theologian
    104
    I trust you realize what a manipulative whine this is.tim wood

    Nope, I'm afraid I don't.

    I recognize I may be wrong about the implication of the first formulation if the CI. And I realize it is not your responsibility to correct all my misapprehensions. But "you're wrong - now go read a 700 page book to see why" is not a particularly convincing argument that I am wrong.

    And whatever else you may say of me, I am capable of making my points without resorting to personal insults.

    Feel free to place me on ignore.
  • Mww
    723


    On reading/studying: Gotta wonder, doncha??
    ———————-

    My reference can be found here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/5682/5682-h/5682-h.htm#link2H_4_0005 . Scroll to SECOND SECTION—TRANSITION FROM POPULAR MORAL PHILOSOPHY TO THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS, then scroll some more to the 7th indented footnote on what a maxim is. Next, in its own paragraph, is the statement, by The Good Professor himself.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.8k

    I've had similar criticisms of the CI. What counts as a maxim to be universalized? I think that his first formulation was trying to be too rigorous for its own good.

    From this thread 2 years ago: https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/40563
    Traditionally, the CI has been applied to larger ethical themes like murder and stealing. How about more granular, everyday situations? Can deontology be applied to more nuanced scenarios?

    At what point does the CI not apply? Can it work with any contradiction that arises, no matter how trivial or is this not meant to be applied to more daily situations of living? If not, why? That is the realm of most human activity. It's how we treat each other in everyday life, the small decisions, the hustle and bustle of living.
    — schopenhauer1

    Incidentally, this week's comic fits right into your thread here :lol: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/293
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