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11/6/06 1:12 AM
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Socrates
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Edited: 06-Nov-06
Member Since: 08/02/2001
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It midnight and I still have to write a six page Kant paper for tomorrow. The question is: why, according to Kant, should we respect other people? I feel like I basically know the answer - but it's complicated and I just can't organize my thoughts into a paper right now. I'm tired. So, I'll be up all night cramming together a short, uniteresting paper - and I have a test in Ancient Greek tomorrow morning. Great... I just wanted to bitch and moan.
11/6/06 12:10 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 06-Nov-06
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Shitty. Honestly though, I can think of many things a million times worse :) Be happy that at least your are putting forth effort. -doug-
11/9/06 5:35 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 09-Nov-06
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my condolences.. a late answer to the question is: Kants categorical imperative, which reminds a bit of the golden rule of the Bible.
11/9/06 6:06 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 09-Nov-06
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As a follow up, I stayed up all night writing this paper. Not a wink of sleep in 48 hours. I haven't done that in years. I have no idea how it turned out... we'll see what my professor thinks. BTW, I tried to explain how the first formulation of Kant's catagorical imperative (only act on maxims that could be universal laws) necessarily entails his second formulation (always treat humanity as an end, never as a means). It's oddly simple, yet hard to explain fully.
11/10/06 3:02 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 10-Nov-06
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We should not only respect humans, but all "rational persons" who can accept the cat. imperative. And I have doubts whether the first one really entails the second one. Care to elaborate a bit?
11/10/06 10:40 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 10-Nov-06
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maybe because we ourselves wouldn´t like to be treated as a mean to an end, but as ends in ourselves? it wouldn´t work very well, if we only used eachother for our selfish needs all the time. but then again, maybe that´s what we do, and it works very well.. Ok, I´ll shut up now and let Socrates explain his thoughts on this. ;-)
11/11/06 4:29 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 11-Nov-06
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I am more interested in how he saw that the first formulation entails the second one. Kant himself said they are equivalent, but this is usually denied nowadays. I.
11/11/06 5:43 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 11-Nov-06
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I'm a little pressed for time right now, so let me start by just sketching out my basic argument. We can then focus on whatever part you find most interesting or objectionable, if you'd like. Oh, and my argument is based solely on the "Groundwork of a Metaphysics of Morals" - that's all we have read so far (although we just started "Critique of Pratical Reason", and it seems to support my argument). The 1st formulation says that we ought only act on maxims that we could will as universal laws. The second formulation says that we ought treat all of humanity, ourselves and others, as ends. Now, every rational being, as a rational being, necesssarily views himself as an end; Kant says this, but never explictly justifies it in the "Groundwork" - but one can see that it would follow from what he says about the autonomy of a rational being - that is, a rational being of himself gives laws to himself - he is thus sees himself as the end of his law giving. That is the linchpin of the argument, and perhaps the most confusing point. But if this is granted, the second formulation follows pretty clearly from the first, I think. For, suppose someone acts on a maxim which treats another person as a means, not an end. He is clearly unable to will this maxim as universal law, because he could never will a law that may result in himself being a means, because he necessarily views himself as an end due to his lawgiving reason. So, in order to act on maxims that one could will as universal laws, one must necessarily treat every rational being as end, never as a means. That's the basic idea. The connection between the two formulations is pretty simple, I think. But understanding the full meaning of either formulation is very difficult. I still have many questions...
2/12/07 7:34 PM
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rkjmd
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Edited: 12-Feb-07
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Oh, the antinomies!
2/12/07 7:40 PM
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Giorgos
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Edited: 12-Feb-07
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this is a part of an essay I wrote when I was doing my B.A. I hope it helps you with the theory... [Kant holds that morality consists of categorical imperatives that give rational commands to everybody regardless of their desires. Furthermore, the only thing that is good without qualification is a good will. Thus, an action with moral worth is an action that is performed with a 'good will' to act according to the categorical imperative. That is to say, if Joe helps Smith (with some problem Smith has) because Joe thinks that he can 'gain' from Smith (monetary or other 'selfish' gains) then Joe's action has no moral worth. Although it is according to the 'imperfect duty', "help others", it lacks a 'good will'. That is, an action must be done from duty and contrary to any material inclinations in order to have any moral worth. Moreover, "an action done from duty has its moral worth, not in the purpose that is to be attained by it, but in the maxim according to which the action is determined". That is to say that the moral worth of actions does not depend on the realization of the object of the action. What it does depend on is the "principle of volition" according to which the action has been performed. Thus, the will 'stands' in the middle of its formal a priori principles and its material a posteriori incentives, and since this 'will' has to be determined by something, then it will be determined by formal principles. Any material principle is taken away when determining the moral worth of an action; it all depends on the formal principles and it is our duty to act according to them. "Duty is the necessity of an action done out of respect for the law". Thus, an action that is done from duty should not include any influence of desire, inclination, emotions, preferences etc. As a result the only remaining fact that has the power to determine 'will' is "objectively the law" and "subjectively pure respect for this practical law". Ergo, an agent's action is morally worthy iff the agent's 'will' prior to the action is representative of the "law in itself".]

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