September 24 , 2012 PHIL 1102 1
Quiz on Monday, review sheet and mock quiz next class, multiple choice, true and false, takes 10 minutes, general comprehension
Wrong if behaviour can’t be universalized and if you treat someone as a means to an end
Feelings don’t play a role, always wrong to lie and steal
Core stability – absolute (i.e., the 10 commandments; eternal) – a lie is always wrong no matter when it is told,
lying always violates categorical imperative, impossible to tell a lie without treating someone as a means
What violates the categorical imperative is always wrong
i.e., slavery is always wrong
General morals and rules that hold true all the time
Intentions do matter – even if someone is acting from the best will but make a mistake, it is still good because they
i.e., A surgeon made a mistake. They are still moral because his intention was to help the person.
Takes peoples’ “rights” into account – if someone’s rights were violated, the action was wrong. Treat them as an
end, not a means.
i.e., officer distributed photo evidence of a naked woman after being attacked = WRONG!!
Torturing someone for info that would save thousands from a bomb = coercing the person, treating him
as a means to an end (using man to get the info about the bomb to save people)
The person has to give permission (i.e., they permit you to torture them for info about bomb)
Human beings have infinite worth no matter what.
Inflexible – to say something is always wrong is unfair
i.e., lying to save your friend from a murderer chasing after him = apparently wrong
o Hypothetically, if you lied and told the murderer that she left and then she escaped on the fire
escape, they met up around the corner, he killed her.
Responsible for having right intention, the consequences are out of your control
Act pure-hearted, whatever happens after is out of your control
As long as you tell the truth, you cannot be blamed for the consequences.
Conflict of duties – theory doesn’t tell us which duty to fulfill if they are conflicting
“I have to keep a secret but I can’t lie”
Difficult to determine when someone is being used as a means – refer to second categorical imperative: cannot use
someone only as a means
No concern for animals and nature – humans are special in themselves
We are not hardwired in what we do
o Animals/plants are “programmed” to grow, procreate, but nothing much else
Humans are able to reason, we are autonomous/free, animals and nature are not. th
September 24 , 2012 PHIL 1102 2
In principle, we can treat animals/nature as means to our own ends, according to Kant.
But they DO matter intrinsically.
It’s wrong to kick dogs because it is a gateway to kicking humans.
o Not because they matter, because we matter.
Inclination/feelings – our inclinations/desires/feelings ought to play a role in our moral theory but Kant considers
You can want to do the right thing, but if you don’t do it from a sense of duty, then the action is morally
Example: There are two women. Women #1 feels strongly against killing people but doesn’t use her duty
to prevent it. Women #2 has strong desires to kill people but she feels it is her duty to not kill anyone.
According to Kant, Women #2 is morally superior.
o Doesn’t feel right…
Example: You have been really sick in the hospital for 2 months. A friend comes to visit. You say “Oh wow,
thanks for vi