Neil makes a pretty persuasive defense of kants philosophy. He says you can
establish moral theory without any heteronomous laws. You can base a morality
just on consistency. (interpretation of kant). What is a maxim? It is important to
know what a maxim is because when you decide to do an action you look at the
maxim. It is not clearly stated by kant what a maxim is. P. 615 2 collum-a maxim
is the underlying intention of your action. Suppose someone is visiting and you
want to make them feel comfortable. How you want to do that are more specific
questions, which tea you will use . these are surface intentions. Is the underlying
intention universalizable and still practical for you. And there is no inconsistency in
unverversalizing that intention. There is no problem with everyone practicing
making their guests comfortable.
A sign of going against duty is a certain kind of inconsistency. In your proposal that
is lying behind your action, there is an inconsistency that affects that maxim. You
can sometimes find inconsistency without even hanving to univeralize. Even before
universalizing you wouldn’t want a maxim that is inconsistent. P. 618-suppose I
have as my underlying intention to be successful and also unworldly. Forget about
universalizing it, I don’t even think you could act on it. They don’t worktogether.
Also being popular and reclusive. They are INHERANTLY inconsistent. You cant be
both. The inconsistency is there from the getgo, its something that comes up when
you try to maximize it.
Conceptual and valicual-affects the will/implementation of your will-things that you
violate by your underlying maxim.
p.619-kant-who wills the end wills also the means which are indespensibly
necessary and in his power. It is irrational to will and end without willing the mean
when there is only will to end the mean. She says there are other examples too. On
inconsistency on universalizing-p.621-contradictions in conceptions-singn you are
going against strict duty. Contradictions in the will are signs you are going against
the meriterous duty. Strict duties are enforced by the laws. The duties of justice.
They are backed up by law. Meritorious duty-good semerit duties.
Her discussions of contradictions in conceptions. According to neil kants examples
are too complicated. He gives suicide-strict duty to yourself, and false promising-
strict duty to others. Meritorious-to yourself and others. She says there are more
simple examples. O’neil argues on p. 623-if you were to universalize the maxim to
see if it would be practical on a large scale. To universalize the slave maxim, well
you cant be a slave if everyone is a slave. There would be no masters. This is a
veery odd way of ex-plaining what is morally wrong with slavery. There is like a
practical impossibility of it. On the same level, you couldn’t be a master either if
everyone is a master there are no slaves.
Suppose your maxim is one of deffering to the judgement of