Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Kant's categorical Imperative says that we should, "act only according to a maxim that you could at the same time will into a universal law". The most cited example of this is that you are going to borrow money from a friend and promise to pay it back, but you have no intention of really paying it back. So your maxim would be fake a promise to get money. Now since you can't will everybody to do this since it would not work if everybody was making fake promises as no one would lend money makes this action, not moral.
But Kant also uses this to rally against masturbation. Since the act of self gratification is selfish in nature you supposedly cant will it into universal law because you wouldn't want everybody in the world to be selfish. We differ here. I would say that if you do not have sex at night you should masturbate as this act would do more to solve world peace then any plan ever invented by Jimmy Carter.
There is also some pre-assumptions of morals in Kant's work for example if I will into law that you can kill anyone who wears a Hawaiian shirt on Friday it would eventually become normal and lead to less fashion disasters...it wouldn't be abnormal since we would all be used to it.
I have a really hard time granting philosophers their due credit because there is too much room for assumptions about why they state of mankind is when you start trying to explain why things are how they are. I almost immediately disregard any writings that fail to mention biology, or invoke God as a pillar or philosophical argument. Minus the biology and invoking God is like trying to describe dinosaurs based on watching "snuffy" appear only to big bird on Sesame street.