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PHL lecture, feb. 9.doc

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Peter King

Kant: Imperatives and Examples  Kant’s formula for “the supreme principle of morality” o Act only in such a way that you can also will that your maxim should become a universal law  What is common to all kinds of laws is that they involve necessity and apply absolutely  How does this work in the case of morality?  Suggest that we think of laws that apply to human ation as commands (imperatives)  Two kinds  (H) Hypothetical Imperatives: “ if you want A, do B”  (C) Categorical Imperatives: “do B”  Kant argues that moral laws cannot by hypothetical imperatives, because a hypothetical imperative simply describes what must be done to achieve a given end, regardless of the moral value of the end  Moral imperatives are categorical  No if clause  Unconditionally  The necessity in hypothetical imperatives comes from our desire for the end it specifies o To will the end is to will the means to the end o The necessity in the categorical imperative, however, stems from its universality- to will in accordance with it is to will something that anyone or everyone (and should) also will  Kant formulates the Categorical Imperative in several ways o (C1) Universal Law  Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the
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