# Thefirstistheguywhoisconsidering suicidehismaximis

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Unformatted text preview: hematic form, like this: So they look, in schematic form, like this: “I will A in C in order to realize or produce E” A = some kind of action C = some kind of circumstance E = some kind of end/purpose That’s what a maxim looks like. An example filling in the As, Cs, and Es An example filling in the As, Cs, and Es “I will make a lying promise whenever I just have to have money in order to avoid having to declare bankruptcy” This is the maxim I am following—the principle of my will—when I decide to make a lying promise (in those circumstances for that purpose). The point from there is that you’ve got to The point from there is that you’ve got to make sure that your maxim could be willed as a universal law. That means that you have to make this maxim something that is a law for every other rational agent—you have to imagine that everyone else must follow it, too. The important part from here is that, if you The important part from here is that, if you get any contradiction from your universalizing that maxim, then you may not do that. What it means to say ‘act only on those maxims . . .’ is that the morally permissible actions are only those which ARE universalizable. So let’s look at that example maxim I made So let’s look at that example maxim I made up: “I will make a lying promise whenever I just have to have money in order to avoid having to declare bankruptcy” Can you universalize this maxim?? According to Kant, no, this maxim is not According to Kant, no, this maxim is not universalizable. Why? Well, if you tried to make it a maxim everyone acted on, then there would be no such thing as making promises. Promise­ making would just not be believed. Everyone would be afraid you were lying. So acting on that maxim is contradictory: you’d be thinking of making a lying promise in a world where promises are worthless. Let’s look at four examples that Kant Let’s look at four examples that Kant mentions to get the hang of applying the categorical imperative. The first is the guy who is considering suicide. His maxim is: “From self­love I adopt it as a principle to shorten my life when its longer duration is likely to bring more evil than satisfaction” Can you do that? Can you universalize Can you do that? Can you universalize that? Well, you do NOT get the same contradiction as in the lying promise case. You could have ever...
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## This note was uploaded on 10/14/2011 for the course PHIL 2103 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Arkansas.

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