krazy kaju wrote:
About Kant's categorical imperative:
Is it only about perfect duty (i.e. not doing an action that would contradict itself like lying or stealing) or does it directly lead to the second formulation (humans as ends, not means)?
My reasoning is that if the categorical imperative treats every action as if it were to become universal law, and you obviously don't want to be treated simply as a means, then doesn't that necessarily imply that everyone should be treated as least partially as an end?
I know it might sound a bit odd, but hang on with me here.
However, if you take the first and second formulations separately, abortion could be viewed as possibly moral. This is because abortion in itself does not contradict perfect duty while the second formulation would postulate that only moral agents are capable of having rights. So thus if you don't "mesh" the two, you wouldn't really get any rights for the unborn.
I have not done a thorough study on Kantian ethics, but I do remember a few things from my Ethics class.
1. Kant talks of the Kingdom of Ends, it is agents in this group that the categorical imperative applies too, not just humans. (I think)
2. I think the requirements for the Kingdom of Ends is thus: Rational, Self-Aware, and Free Will.
3. I think there are three formulations of the categorical imperative, I can't find it right now, but perhaps you can find more insight in the third formulation.
According to 2. above, an unborn baby would not fall into the Kingdom of Ends, and therefore the categorical imperative does not apply to it. But one may travel down a slippery slope and ask when does a person actually become 'Rational'?
My reasoning being that since you would not want to be aborted in the past now it goes back in time to give you the rights to be treated as an ends.
I don't think it is about what a person would 'want', because, someone who is suicidal may in fact want to have been aborted, while someone who enjoys life would not, and we end up with two contradictory maxims.
I think the CI relates to the possibility of universalizing the maxim. For instance, is it possible for society to continue if every person always lied, or is it possible for society to continue if every person murdered another person. The answer to both is No, so therefore the maxim cannot be universalized.
(I may be wrong on this part, it has been a long time)
All in all, regarding the abortion issue, you first need to define if rather or not a fetus is a person, and therefore if it falls within the Kingdom of Ends.
the interrelatedness could have important implications when it comes to practical/applied ethics ... However, if you take the first and second formulations separately
I think Kant says that all three formulations of the CI are one in the same, and therefore cannot be separated.