11 - Phil 140 Categorical Imperative: unconditional...

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Phil 140 Categorical Imperative: unconditional obligation; does not depend on desires or beliefs; core basis of morality = act according to maxim by which at the same time could be a universal law Maxim: underlying action; in order to achieve this goal this is the action I am going to take Can you will your maxim as a law for everybody? If so action is right; otherwise action is wrong The humanity formula of the CI: Always treat humanity never simply as a means but always also as an ends “treat someone as a means” = using a person to get to something that your want; not respecting or valuing them as a person do you use people? If so the action is wrong or does my action respect other people and treat them as ends in themselves? If so action is right one categorical rule. ^ two ways of following it Objections to Kant Kant thinks it is NEVER permissible to lie: the duty not to lie is categorical (something you cant get out of) Morally permissible = morally right 1. Problem!! Cant make exception to moral theory even if theres an inquiring murderer at your door If you make maxim more specific “unless it will save someone’s life, you should not lie” Ask what if they was a universal world everywhere? Possible solution: can we get around this problem by formulating our maxims in the right way? Problem with solution: how do we formulate the maxims? Especially in specific cases Cant make get out of jail free cards? Theory is absolutist; gets blurry with “exceptions” 2. Is there really a “contradiction” involved in acting against the CI? Imagine world where everyone lied or no one helped each other or committed suicide = is it
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2012 for the course PHIL 140 taught by Professor Yaffe during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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11 - Phil 140 Categorical Imperative: unconditional...

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