Unformatted text preview: Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Pp 258 267 First things first!
First things first!
“Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will” Everything else may be called ‘good’ (and Everything else may be called ‘good’ (and really be good—in a moral sense), but not without the qualification of having a good will.
Intelligence? No, could use that to steal/kill.
Wisdom? No, for the same reason.
Courage? No, for the same reason.
Health? No, because, again, it depends on what you do with your health! So you probably get the idea, but let’s So you probably get the idea, but let’s mention three other things, too, because they have ethical import:
Maybe the virtue theorist/utilitarian would protest, but happiness can “inspire pride, and often presumption” if you don’t have a good will behind it. Think of your siblings when they have a birthday . . . Ok, try again:
Ok, try again:
Virtues? (e.g., courage, wisdom, loyalty)
Nope. Again, it depends on the will which is putting them to use. Seems like moderation is an important thing, but “the [moderation] of a villain not only makes him far more dangerous, but also directly makes him more abominable in our eyes than he would have been without it” Finally, the utilitarian would want to say:
Finally, the utilitarian would want to say:
Not even consequences can be said to be good without qualification. If you don’t have a good will bringing them about, we don’t care about the consequences. Imagine I’m trying to shoot an innocent person and fail. “A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects, not by its aptness for the attainment of some proposed end, but simply by virtue of the volition”
That is, the good will is simply good. Not qualified by anything (e.g., because it’s useful for getting something else). It’s good simply because of what it wills. That means you could even mess up applying your That means you could even mess up applying your good will and that’s okay:
“Even if it should happen that, owing to special disfavor of fortune . . . this will should wholly lack power to accomplish its purpose, if with its greatest efforts it should yet achieve nothing, and there should remain...
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- Fall '08