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PHIL 201 (20)
James Scow (11)

o'neil and marcus

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Virginia Commonwealth University
PHIL 201
James Scow

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 nd 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 p. 620 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
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