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Kantian Deontics

Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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9/22/2016 9:56:09 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
I want to know if you agree/disagree with the following propositions:

1) In order to make a morally significant action, a person must act from a sense of duty.

2) If a decision/thought/mental process can be morally significant, it is still fundamentally different from the moral significance of the manifestation of that process in behaviour.

3) 'Intrinsic good' is a legitimate property that can predicate a morally significant thing.

4) All 'intrinsically good' actions must be able to be applied to all people universally, or else they cannot be intrinsically good.

5) It is always wrong to use people.

While I tend to disagree with Kant on the rather idealistic nature of his doctrine, I get the feeling that his ethical theory actually describes the positions held by a lot of DDO members. That's just an observation, what with people treating right or wrong as if they were matters of fact and not different across time and space.

Thoughts?
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keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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9/22/2016 11:55:10 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
I like short posts- especially when I'm using my smartphone so I will only comment one the first.
I don't see duty as essential, but I do see intent. I don't think an accidental act can be moral or immoral.
Smithereens
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9/22/2016 12:35:32 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/22/2016 11:55:10 AM, keithprosser wrote:
I like short posts- especially when I'm using my smartphone so I will only comment one the first.
I don't see duty as essential, but I do see intent. I don't think an accidental act can be moral or immoral.

What is causing intent to do good? A feeling that one ought to do good?
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keithprosser
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9/22/2016 1:50:53 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
What I mean is that for an act to moral or immoral it has to be intetional.. If I kill you by accident I would not have acted immorally.
I also think morality lies in the intent, not the consequence. If I do something with the intent of helping but it had the unforseen consequence of killing I did not act immorally. I not a 'consequentialist'.
NHN
Posts: 624
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9/22/2016 3:37:31 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/22/2016 9:56:09 AM, Smithereens wrote:
I want to know if you agree/disagree with the following propositions:
Kant is an excellent moral philosopher. He just needs a supplement to clear the inherent ambiguity of his formalism. And my supplement happens to be Nietzschean.

1) In order to make a morally significant action, a person must act from a sense of duty.
Here, the Nietzschean supplement reorders the question. Rather than duty, which regards unconditional obedience, a moral action is one that derives from a position of superiority and desire. There is no intent and no finality -- a means and not a goal -- for desire is an endless loop.

2) If a decision/thought/mental process can be morally significant, it is still fundamentally different from the moral significance of the manifestation of that process in behaviour.
Agreed. It is not the act or its manifestation but the thought process of the agent that determines the significance.

3) 'Intrinsic good' is a legitimate property that can predicate a morally significant thing.
The point here is that the morality in question emanates from the moral subject and not from specific actions. A particular set of actions can never mirror the set quality of a noble subject.

4) All 'intrinsically good' actions must be able to be applied to all people universally, or else they cannot be intrinsically good.
The argument is a bit of a closed loop, I admit, as the universally superior morality wouldn't be superior if it at some point were subverted by an inferior moral order. It is a statement of purpose rather than a logical argument.

5) It is always wrong to use people.
Calculation/utility is wrong because it presupposes finality. The loop of desire leads one to turn away from a logic of "ends" and its supplemental quid-pro-quo morality.

While I tend to disagree with Kant on the rather idealistic nature of his doctrine, I get the feeling that his ethical theory actually describes the positions held by a lot of DDO members.
I agree with that observation, and I would add that they hold a Christian supplement to the Kantian schema, which means unconditional duty is their highest value. My desire-driven valuation -- reliant on means, not ends -- will always be at odds with their Christian-Kantian approach.
Smithereens
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9/23/2016 1:21:07 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/22/2016 1:50:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
What I mean is that for an act to moral or immoral it has to be intetional.. If I kill you by accident I would not have acted immorally.
I also think morality lies in the intent, not the consequence. If I do something with the intent of helping but it had the unforseen consequence of killing I did not act immorally. I not a 'consequentialist'.

manslaughter is punishable, indicating a moral gravity in the act of killing. Furthermore, actions can carry moral weight. Imagine if I came across a bizarre situation where 10 children were hanging off a cliff, and I have the means to save them. I could desire that they all die and burn in hell, but if I save them despite intending to knock them off the cliff, I've performed a net morally good action.
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Benshapiro
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9/23/2016 2:10:25 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/22/2016 1:50:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
What I mean is that for an act to moral or immoral it has to be intetional.. If I kill you by accident I would not have acted immorally.
I also think morality lies in the intent, not the consequence. If I do something with the intent of helping but it had the unforseen consequence of killing I did not act immorally. I not a 'consequentialist'.

I find myself in agreement with you on a number of issues. It's refreshing to see the relative impartiality in your posts.
Benshapiro
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9/23/2016 2:32:34 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 1:21:07 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/22/2016 1:50:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
What I mean is that for an act to moral or immoral it has to be intetional.. If I kill you by accident I would not have acted immorally.
I also think morality lies in the intent, not the consequence. If I do something with the intent of helping but it had the unforseen consequence of killing I did not act immorally. I not a 'consequentialist'.

manslaughter is punishable, indicating a moral gravity in the act of killing. Furthermore, actions can carry moral weight. Imagine if I came across a bizarre situation where 10 children were hanging off a cliff, and I have the means to save them. I could desire that they all die and burn in hell, but if I save them despite intending to knock them off the cliff, I've performed a net morally good action.

I think that you're morally indebted for accidentally killing somebody, but whether you were acting "immorally" or not depends on what level of accountability you had when the death occurred. If you had no accountability, you didn't act immorally. If you had full accountability, you acted immorally.

Morality, fundamentally, is about the intention that underlies the action. It's not the means and it's not the outcome. It's a measure of whether the individual's disposition and will.
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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9/23/2016 4:23:29 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
I thoroughly disagree that if you save 10 kids when your intent was to kill them that constituted a 'net' morally good act. It would mean giving an attempted murderer a good conduct medal when he deserves multiple life sentences- at least IMO! That is the big difference between consequentialism and 'intentionalism'!
Smithereens
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9/23/2016 9:18:15 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 4:23:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I thoroughly disagree that if you save 10 kids when your intent was to kill them that constituted a 'net' morally good act. It would mean giving an attempted murderer a good conduct medal when he deserves multiple life sentences- at least IMO! That is the big difference between consequentialism and 'intentionalism'!

No we're talking Kant here. He believed that truly good actions were ones where you act contrary to your selfish desires, motives and intents. Hence whenever you save someone when you really wanted them dead, you're performing a truly good action.
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keithprosser
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9/24/2016 7:20:22 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
In the OP you asked if people agreed with Kant. I guess you can say I don't agree with him on very many points.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,720
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11/6/2016 11:57:38 AM
Posted: 3 weeks ago
At 9/23/2016 4:23:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I thoroughly disagree that if you save 10 kids when your intent was to kill them that constituted a 'net' morally good act. It would mean giving an attempted murderer a good conduct medal when he deserves multiple life sentences- at least IMO! That is the big difference between consequentialism and 'intentionalism."

It is rather obsurd to posit that one is going to kill people while carrying out good or benign intentions.

"I baked you some cookies!" [accidentally pulls out butcher knife and stabs people in their throats]. "Whoops! That wasn't supposed to happen!"

I agree with you, there IS a big difference between the two theories. You just showed how completely asinine consequentialism is!
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