Question about Kantian ethics

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Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 06:17 pm
iconoclast wrote:
Oh that's great - a son named Max, you must be so proud. Another emotion, but one with a large rational element.
Thanks, iconoclast. He's my hero. My wife said the other day "You know, I don't even think of Max as a human. I think of him as some kind of higher being." I couldn't have put it better.

I'm good - all goes as well as it might. I've been giving you a break - but now I'm back, still trying to get people to face what I believe to be the most significant philosophical issue of our age - the very real and increasing probability of human extinction resulting from action in the course of epsitemologically unsound ideas. I'm not having a great deal of sucess, here or elsewhere I'm afraid, but the fault may not be mine
Always an interesting debate, one for a different thread of course. Our disagreements on this subject are mainly matters of magnitude and pragmatism, not principle.
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:18 am

I'm glad all goes well. Yes, of course, sorry for hijacking this subject. Just wanted to say Hello and all the best. Delete this and get back to Kant, though it's an interesting side-note that if Tversky and Kahneman are correct - motive and sense of duty are irrelevent to ethical issues that induce denial, and/or are such that rational risk assemsment is prevented. Inded, one might argue that the whole categorical imperative is thrown into question - at least in relation to an ethical duty one might argue we have to curb our own excesses in order to give future generations a fighting chance. It seems obvious to me but if people can't/won't see it, how can they be ethically obligated?

Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 01:50 am
Hi Iconocast, I would like to say that deni-all comes into play with cognitive thought. Kant's categories exist as a prelude to that. In judging cognitive thought is always present and deni-all is always present as well. From the point of having denied all one has to construct a model of reality by means of Thought-objects. The object is to make our model coincide with reality. As with the genes nothing can come to exist which is not already present in some way or another. Therefore logic dictates that it is necessary that the full potential of humanity is already present in all humans and the full scale of any (human) truth or knowledge also has a place (a priori) in all humans. This is the basis of Kant's philosophies. All evidence points to this a priori presence.

I'll go deeper into the metaphysical groundings of Kant's philosophies later today. I have to go to work in a bit and I do not like rushjobs when dealing with serious matters such as this.
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 03:03 am
Hi Arjen,

I'm not sure that deni-all, and denial are being used in the same sense here - but must admit that my knowledge of Kant and Frege is superficial at best.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but here it seems deni-all is as a background against which thought objects are contrasted, that would suggest that the objects in question are not constructed - leaving deni-all as the space not occupied by these objects.

I don't think that's Tversky and Kahneman's suggestion. For example, they say:
In this case, imagining human extinction probably makes it seem less likely.
This would seem to suggest that the thought object is constructed, but then denied as an unconscious result of bias in risk assessment.

You might argue; and indeed, you do where you say:
The object is to make our model coincide with reality.
...that those in denial have not grasped the object in the correct sense, but where ethics are concerned, motive and sense of duty are based on apprehension - and where apprehension is not possible ethical obligation cannot be said to pertain.

Or maybe I've got it wrong. I look forward to your thoughts on the matter.

Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 06:44 am
Arjen wrote:
'Deontology' is the form of ethics which focusses on on 'duty'. The word refers to the Greek word 'deon', which means 'duty', or 'obligation'. Two famous deontologists are Kant and Nietzsche. Their pilosophies are examples of deontology because they base themselves not on what might be (hypothetically) best for themselves, but on how one should behave in such a way that one could will that everybody would behave.

From The Anti-Christ, section 11:

'The fundamental laws of self-preservation and growth demand the opposite-that everyone invent his own virtue, his own categorical imperative.'

That is, according to Nietzsche everyone ought to invent their own rule by which to determine what is good. 'Behave in such a way as everyone should behave' is just one example, and a Kantian one at that. Zarathustra on the other hand considers it good to embrace one's own virtue (that is, '[one's own] most necessary self-expression and self-defense' [ibid]), even if it doesn't suit anyone else (see: Of Joys and Passions).

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