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The categorical imperative

headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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6/1/2011 7:20:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
What is it? Just felt like exposing this

Kant defines imperative as a principle or law governing our behavior. A hypothetical imperativ is a standard of conduct based on the benefits produced by a particular act. A categorical imperative however sees the act as good in itself, irrespective of anything it produces. Only a categorical imperative can establish a moral duty. And since a categorical imperative is true regardless of it's effect, kants theory directly contradicts theories of utility by mill and Bentham. Kant beliefs that categorical imperatives can determined what actions are morally demanded. Kant establishs. Simple test for judging whether our decision to behave a certain way is consistent with a categorical imperative. That decision is morally just if we could establish it as a universal law. If we can justify our own decisions as the way people should act in ll similar circumstances, then the decision constitutes a categorical imperative.

Kant argues that a particular act is moral if it is a product of good will, that is, if it is motivated solely by ones sense of duty as opposed to ones personal inclination. In other words, an act is moral if it is undertaken solely be ause it is the right thing to do, not that it is beneficiL in some way.

Example: assume that a man has decided to contribute a large sum of money to a particular charity. This action may or may not be moral, depending upon whether or not it is motivated by good will or by self interst. The man may contribute money to obtain a tax write off, or he may contribute money to improve the image others have of him. In either case, the act should not Command our respect. It is motivated by self interest rather than a sense of duty. The fact thT the donation may save lives is irravent to our evaluation of it's moral worth. Saving lives was not his exclusive motivation for contributing. Motivation, not effects, determines moral worth

Thoughts on Kant and his categorical imperative?
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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6/1/2011 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think I posted this in the wrong forum oops
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
belle
Posts: 4,113
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6/2/2011 3:17:11 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
theres lots of interpretations of it. i had one prof, who i think i agree with, who claimed that there is a consequentialist edge to the catagorical imperative, since kant mainly justified it by explaining how immoral actions were inherently self defeating. you can't explain that without referring to the consequences of the action itself.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Ogan
Posts: 407
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6/2/2011 5:53:14 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:20:54 PM, headphonegut wrote:
What is it? Just felt like exposing this

Kant defines imperative as a principle or law governing our behavior. A hypothetical imperativ is a standard of conduct based on the benefits produced by a particular act. A categorical imperative however sees the act as good in itself, irrespective of anything it produces. Only a categorical imperative can establish a moral duty. And since a categorical imperative is true regardless of it's effect, kants theory directly contradicts theories of utility by mill and Bentham. Kant beliefs that categorical imperatives can determined what actions are morally demanded. Kant establishs. Simple test for judging whether our decision to behave a certain way is consistent with a categorical imperative. That decision is morally just if we could establish it as a universal law. If we can justify our own decisions as the way people should act in ll similar circumstances, then the decision constitutes a categorical imperative.

Kant argues that a particular act is moral if it is a product of good will, that is, if it is motivated solely by ones sense of duty as opposed to ones personal inclination. In other words, an act is moral if it is undertaken solely be ause it is the right thing to do, not that it is beneficiL in some way.

Example: assume that a man has decided to contribute a large sum of money to a particular charity. This action may or may not be moral, depending upon whether or not it is motivated by good will or by self interst. The man may contribute money to obtain a tax write off, or he may contribute money to improve the image others have of him. In either case, the act should not Command our respect. It is motivated by self interest rather than a sense of duty. The fact thT the donation may save lives is irravent to our evaluation of it's moral worth. Saving lives was not his exclusive motivation for contributing. Motivation, not effects, determines moral worth


Thoughts on Kant and his categorical imperative?

Thanks for letting me know that Kant is in agreement with me.
Motive is all, acts are by the way. The difficulty for a court of justice is how to determine the true motive and the circumstances, regardless of the act itself - a truly difficult task.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:20:54 PM, headphonegut wrote:

Thoughts on Kant and his categorical imperative?

What happens if you follow it but no one else does.
Ogan
Posts: 407
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6/6/2011 2:38:16 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 7:20:54 PM, headphonegut wrote:

Thoughts on Kant and his categorical imperative?

What happens if you follow it but no one else does.

At 6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
What happens if you follow it but no one else does?

If I could hazard a guess, Kant seems to say that if we were to follow it, we would attain to a high level of… moral worth. Whilst everyone else who did not, would have little or any moral worth because of secret negative motives effecting others painfully one way or another, and also, ulterior motives differing from outer expression in actions that puff one up with false pride, attended with much exterior cheering and medal presentations by the fools took in and fascinated by such balderdash.
To me, the question - what is the real nature, necessity and usefulness of moral worth? - seems to get to the heart of it. But the answer to this would most likely lead to an extremely large treatise, in which the whole nature of man, physical and spiritual, outer and inner, would need to be expounded and also be fully acceptable to the reason.
Cliff.Stamp
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6/6/2011 2:43:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 2:38:16 PM, Ogan wrote:

If I could hazard a guess, Kant seems to say that if we were to follow it, we would attain to a high level of… moral worth.

Yes, but practically what would happen if you tried to live your life like that. While Kant was brilliant, no doubt, what happens if you apply game theory to the situation and examine the practical result of you being perfectly moral when you know that other people are not.
Ogan
Posts: 407
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6/6/2011 3:02:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 2:43:24 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/6/2011 2:38:16 PM, Ogan wrote:

If I could hazard a guess, Kant seems to say that if we were to follow it, we would attain to a high level of… moral worth.

Yes, but practically what would happen if you tried to live your life like that. While Kant was brilliant, no doubt, what happens if you apply game theory to the situation and examine the practical result of you being perfectly moral when you know that other people are not.

Its an interesting question certainly, but because scenarios are almost infinite, you would need to apply what you call game theory to an almost endless stream of situations in a vast number of different combinations, then visually and audibly record all the results and store them on a database for future research purposes. Then you would need to repeat the whole process again with reference to those who do not apply the game theory to the EXACT same scenarios – which is impossible as they have happened - and tabulate all their results. Lastly, you would need to compare the endless differences between the two types and gradually build up a crude picture of a possible answer to the question you asked.
Or maybe, some are happy just to know - though the road may be rough because of it at times - the real freedom that comes with and because of moral worth and remain content and silent? Who knows?
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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6/6/2011 3:38:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 3:02:20 PM, Ogan wrote:

Its an interesting question certainly, but because scenarios are almost infinite, you would need to apply what you call game theory to an almost endless stream of situations in a vast number of different combinations, then visually and audibly record all the results and store them on a database for future research purposes. Then you would need to repeat the whole process again with reference to those who do not apply the game theory to the EXACT same scenarios – which is impossible as they have happened - and tabulate all their results. Lastly, you would need to compare the endless differences between the two types and gradually build up a crude picture of a possible answer to the question you asked.

There is an extensive body of research in game theory already both through simulations and direct experiments.
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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6/6/2011 3:58:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
What happens if you follow it but no one else does.

Then you're moral and everyone else isn't? Am I missing what the point of the question is?
Cliff.Stamp
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6/6/2011 4:10:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 3:58:49 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
What happens if you follow it but no one else does.

Then you're moral and everyone else isn't?

Yes, but what is the practical result. Consider if we are negotiating for example and I am completely transparent about my high/low points and you are willing to lie about yours.
Kinesis
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6/6/2011 4:18:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:10:39 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
Yes, but what is the practical result. Consider if we are negotiating for example and I am completely transparent about my high/low points and you are willing to lie about yours.

There are far worse scenarios than that to rally against Kant's theory. The categorical imperative entails that we ought to never lie even if refusing to do so results in the destruction of the entire human race.
Cliff.Stamp
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6/6/2011 4:21:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:18:22 PM, Kinesis wrote:

The categorical imperative entails that we ought to never lie even if refusing to do so results in the destruction of the entire human race.

Yes, but practically how many people are going to be in that situation.
Kinesis
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6/6/2011 4:30:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:21:35 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
Yes, but practically how many people are going to be in that situation.

The thought experiment is intended to demonstrate that disregarding consequences leads to ethical conclusions that are unacceptable - whether it takes place hypothetically or actually is neither here nor there.
Cliff.Stamp
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6/6/2011 7:03:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:30:43 PM, Kinesis wrote:

The thought experiment is intended to demonstrate that disregarding consequences leads to ethical conclusions that are unacceptable - whether it takes place hypothetically or actually is neither here nor there.

If you mean that Kant was explicitly against a consequence basis for morality yes, but that was not the point.
Ogan
Posts: 407
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6/7/2011 8:53:48 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 3:38:35 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/6/2011 3:02:20 PM, Ogan wrote:

Its an interesting question certainly, but because scenarios are almost infinite, you would need to apply what you call game theory to an almost endless stream of situations in a vast number of different combinations, then visually and audibly record all the results and store them on a database for future research purposes. Then you would need to repeat the whole process again with reference to those who do not apply the game theory to the EXACT same scenarios – which is impossible as they have happened - and tabulate all their results. Lastly, you would need to compare the endless differences between the two types and gradually build up a crude picture of a possible answer to the question you asked.

There is an extensive body of research in game theory already both through simulations and direct experiments.

Thanks, but I stick with it being infinite in on many levels, though I agree research may show certain basic truths in certain situations, but not all possible eventualities and outcomes. Do you happen to have a link to the said research?
Cliff.Stamp
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6/7/2011 9:36:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/7/2011 8:53:48 AM, Ogan wrote:

Do you happen to have a link to the said research?

It is an entire field of research. One of the more interesting things you might want to start with is the iterated prisoner's dilemma and the programming challenges to find the optimal "robot" to play the game. A very clever solution was found by a group of programmers who submitted multiple robots and they were programmer to recognize each other and thus members would then take a dive so as to advance other group members. Note this has real world applications to any interaction where the results of your decision depend on the decisions made by someone else, that is the mathematics definition.
Ogan
Posts: 407
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6/7/2011 10:43:24 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/7/2011 9:36:26 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/7/2011 8:53:48 AM, Ogan wrote:

Do you happen to have a link to the said research?

It is an entire field of research. One of the more interesting things you might want to start with is the iterated prisoner's dilemma and the programming challenges to find the optimal "robot" to play the game. A very clever solution was found by a group of programmers who submitted multiple robots and they were programmer to recognize each other and thus members would then take a dive so as to advance other group members. Note this has real world applications to any interaction where the results of your decision depend on the decisions made by someone else, that is the mathematics definition.

Thanks for that, will have a look see when I have more time.
headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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6/7/2011 8:18:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:10:39 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/6/2011 3:58:49 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
What happens if you follow it but no one else does.

Then you're moral and everyone else isn't?

Yes, but what is the practical result. Consider if we are negotiating for example and I am completely transparent about my high/low points and you are willing to lie about yours.

That would sound like an ethical dilemma not a moral one
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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6/7/2011 8:24:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:18:22 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/6/2011 4:10:39 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
Yes, but what is the practical result. Consider if we are negotiating for example and I am completely transparent about my high/low points and you are willing to lie about yours.

There are far worse scenarios than that to rally against Kant's theory. The categorical imperative entails that we ought to never lie even if refusing to do so results in the destruction of the entire human race.

False kants theory says one actions are only a universal moral if people would dobthe same action irrespective of the consequences like killing hitler if everybody would do it it would be okay. If we were alive in his time (when he was alive) then it would be immoral because Nazis wouldn't kil him however now people take his actions into consideration and have a decision based on what he did
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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6/7/2011 8:28:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/6/2011 4:10:39 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/6/2011 3:58:49 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/6/2011 12:14:16 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
What happens if you follow it but no one else does.

Then you're moral and everyone else isn't?

Yes, but what is the practical result. Consider if we are negotiating for example and I am completely transparent about my high/low points and you are willing to lie about yours.

Your morality is your own if you would not do what he/she did then it would be immoral however if the person is lying on your negotiation then that woul be a bit unethical and it would only be and if he's lying to reach something then it would be immoral cuz his actions would take into account consequence
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?