Study Notes for Ch. 12, 14-15
Chapter 12: Kant's Opinion
1. The moral worth of an action is to be judged not by the consequences but by the nature of the maxim (ground rule) or principle that motivated the action
2. The only correct Maxims are those that can serve as universal laws because they are applicable without exception to every person at any time.
Chapter 12: Study Questions
1. Good will is the only thing in the world that is good without limitation.
2. Acting from duty is perform the action because it is your duty, does not matter if you are inclined to do it or whether or not it is in your interests.
Acting in accordance with duty mean performing an action because you are inclined to do it or it pleases you or your interests.
3. Categorical Imperative - Flat out command: Do X
Hypothetical Imperative - If you want X, you should do Y
Chapter 14: What is Utilitarianism
1. Utilitarianism is the creed which accepts as the foundation of morals "utility" or the " greatest happiness principle" holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness
a) happiness is pleasure and no pain and unhappiness is pain and no pleasure
b) pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things desirable as ends (the end being happiness)
Chapter 12: Good Will and Duty
1. The only thing that can be called good without qualification is good will
a) Good will is not good because of its effects or accomplishments nor its adequacy to achieve a proposed end but because by virtue of its willing it is good in itself
2. The duty to help others has no moral worth if done for the purpose of taking delight in the contentment of others in order to achieve inner pleasure
a) this is because the maxim lacks the moral merit of such actions done not out of inclination but out of duty
b) the moral worth of an action done out of duty has the moral worth solely on the principle of volition in accordance with which the action was done, without any regard for objects of the faculty of desire (found in the principle of the will)
3. The idea of an objective, in so far as it constrains a will, is called a commandment (of reasons), and the formulation of this commandment is call an Imperative
Chapter 12: Duties of the only Categ. Imperative
1. A guy has a horrible life and wonders if its duty to take his life. His maxim is "I make it my principle out of self-love to shorten my life if it shorten my life if its continuance threatens more evil than it promises advantage."
a)This cannot be universalized because the law of nature is to promote life and saying it should destroy life would contradict itself
2. A guy borrows money and promises to pay it back but actually intends not to. The maxim of the action is "When I need money, I will borrow money, promise to pay it back but then not pay it back".
a)This cannot be universalized because it would make the concept of promising itself impossible because no one would believe anyone that promises anything anymore
Chapter 12: Imperatives
1. Hypothetical Imperative - declares a possible action to be practically necessary as a means to the attainment of something else that one wants
a) if you want "A", then do
"B" ( you will not know what a hypothetical imperative contains until given its condition)
2. Categorical Imperative - represents an action as itself objectively necessary, without regard to any further end.
a) Do "x" (requires a certain type of conduct directly)
b) The ONLY categorical imperative is "Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law"
Chapter 12: Duties of the only... (Continued)
3. A guy has a talent that if practiced would make him a useful man but he prefers to give himself up to pleasure rather than working on increasing this talent. His maxim is "Does my maxim of neglecting my natural gifts, besides agreeing with my taste for amusement, agree also with what is called duty?
a) This is cannot be universalized because as a rational being he automatically wills that all his powers should be developed, since they are after all useful to him.
4.A guy believes that he shouldn't help anyone and just worry about himself. Now the human race could survive perfectly well if this was universalized.
a) Although the maxim could be universalized it is impossible to will that such a principle should hold everywhere as a law of nature because it conflicts with itself since many situation might arise in which the man needs love and sympathy from others and in which, by such a law of nature generated by his own will, he would rob himself of all hop of the help he wants.