Categorical Vs Hypothetical<br />The Categorical imperative is to act for the sake of duty only. <br />Whereas the hypothetical imperative is acting in order to receive some kind of reward.<br />Kant argues that the categorical imperative is the only good way to act. <br />For example one should help an old lady across the road simply because it is a good thing to do, not because it will make you feel good. <br />Even if a good act makes you feel good, this is not a reward it is a bonus according to Kant.<br />
Duty & Good will <br />Kant wanted to work out what is good in itself. <br />Good will is the only thing that Kant terms as “Good without qualification”<br />“It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world which can be taken as good without qualification except a good will.”<br />A good will is to “act for the sake of duty.” <br />Duty is not about serving ones own interests, it is not judged on consequences.<br />
SummumBonum<br />The SummumBonum is the highest good that everyone (according to Kant) should strive towards.<br />It is a conjunction between happiness and virtue. It is a reward for doing duty for duty’s sake.<br />The SB is not something to be found on earth; it takes place in the afterlife. We see bad people living happy lives and good people living unhappy lives. <br />
Postulates of practical reason.<br />These are things that kant decided were necessary for his theory to work. There are three postulates of practical reason:<br />We must be free in order to make decisions.<br />There must be an afterlife in which we can reach the SB<br />God must exist so that there is a fair judge to bring us to the afterlife. <br />
Maxims & Universalisability<br />A maxim is an absolute moral statement; Kant stated that these had to be universalisable. For example do not murder.<br />Universalisability is the ability to use a maxim everywhere, and by everyone so that the maxim is never broken. <br />For example, for Kant the Decalogue is a set of maxims which should be universal.<br />
Four Examples <br />Kant gave four examples of how self love cannot be universalised:<br />The first is a man who wants to commit suicide but questions if this goes against a duty to himself.<br />A man borrows money knowing he cannot pay it back despite promising to do so.<br />A talented man decides to ignore his talent and does nothing to further himself, he also questions whether this is duty to himself.<br />One man is happy and flourishing in his life but doesn’t care about anyone else; he will not give other people help.<br />
Explaining the examples.<br />The first example cannot be universal because one is always trying to improve one’s life while killing yourself does the opposite. <br />If everyone did this it would make the ideal of promises worthless.<br />If no one used their talents there would be no doctors, detectives, scientists etc, society would fail.<br />There will come a point when he needs help, if everyone has the same attitude as him, no one would receive help. <br />
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