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2006-12-25 02:24:59
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Rant on Kant


I totally disagree with Kant's morality. I've recently read this 'small' anotated book by Ralph Walker on Kant's morality. Basically, he's created a morality based on obligation (or duty), that's both universal and objective. The maxims are happiness and perfection. He disagrees with utilitarianism because he says morals should be ends within themselves. One should not look at the 'ends' or hypothetical imperative (means to something else), but categorical imperative (not promoting an end, just stating what we ought to do).

Furthermore he promotes a laughable idea of 'magical free will':

Free choice as noumenal: "Lying beyond the world we can know about." (meaning we can never explain this 'free will')

"Reason would overstep all its limits if it undertook to explain how pure reason can be practical, which would be exactly the same as the task of explaining how freedom is possible." (Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 458-9)

-Law is not part of the empirical casual order, freedom requires us to transcend it: "..must be thought of as independent from everything empirical and thus from nature in general... without that freedom (in this proper sense of the word), which alone is practical a priori, no moral law is possible, nor any moral assessment. (Critique of Pure Practical Reason 97)

Can one get more vague and nonsensical than that? This is precisely why I did not like Kant to begin with, it's too hard to understand his language (maybe it's the translation?). The above excerpts make sense, but the guy annoting it goes through and clears up any horrible misconceptions about his writing. He has this insufferable urge to use strange terminology to over-complicate life. If I were to write a philosophy book, perhaps in the future one day, I'd make sure it was understandable even to the common man. I know very well my reading comprehension is not poor, but I could not for the life of me figure out what the hell he was saying in 'A Critique of Pure Reason'.

He argues for free will so poorly that I started laughing. Scratch that, he makes no attempt to argue his maxims or the existence of free will, he just states that as a given in order for his 'objective' morality to work. So basically, anyone who 'agrees' with him gets to have an 'objective' morality system. He says his maxims are unargueable just like the laws of logic are, but it's hardly convincing. What a farce.

I take a Nietzschean stance on Kant's morality: "It is idiotic". I also agree with Hume: reason can only be "the slave of our passions." An action can only be judged rationally as a means to an end. Morality is based on values. Judged from the perspective of effectiveness of fulfilling value systems, morality can have some sort of objective property, but examining value systems, one concludes values are completely subjective.

Objective (defn): existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality. Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.

Subjective (defn): pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation. Existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought.

What are values? Essentially preferences, we think killing is wrong, as a preference, we value the lives of others. Some people think killing others is perfectly fine, they do not value the lives of others. This differing standard of morality is not good enough to concede that there is no objective morality, as people can have differing ideas about something, but there could still be a right answer, but I argue that there is no set standard of morality. There is no one 'set of values' to hold universally, so therefore I think values are subjective. If values are subjective, and morals are based on values, then morality must be subjective. I'm a moral subjectivist, not to be confused with moral relativist (which is flawed and too collectivist in my eyes). Morality does not exist independent of thought, nor is it above personal influence. To say an objective morality exists would be akin to saying that one had found the meaning of life. Morality is a prescriptive statement telling us how to behave in reality as opposed to what is in reality. The meaning of life deals with how one should live their own life, and nobody has the answer because there is no answer. How one should behave in reality is a very similar question.

Morality based on duty is just dumb. He claims that actions done for the greater good out of inclination 'lacks moral content', better yet, he says only someone unwilling to good things (lacking in a good moral inclination) but does something purely out of 'duty' holds genuine moral worth. No wonder Nietzsche hated Kant's morality so much. This is foolish morality, someone who is purely good would enjoy doing something virtuous, someone doing something out of duty is goaded (forced) into it. What pathetic emotional motivation can someone have to do something out of duty? From a Nietzschean standpoint, it is pure weakness, slave morality. It is not fulfilling to an individual and if anything, it degrades. Morality out of duty is an unnatural act. Kant says objective morality can only work if the will is free, I fail to see how committing blindly to a 'duty' constitutes freedom. Duty binds. Doing something out of duty is like doing something purely for the sake of the rule, would you obey rules just for the sake of the rule?

Furthermore, I have no idea what he means by perfection. Perfection is something that is unachievable, and arbitrary. I have no clue how he could make an 'objective' standard based on something as subjective as individual 'perfection'.

Hehe, I'm such a Nietzschean, I thought morality of obligation was stupid before reading Nietzsche's The AntiChrist. Nietzsche just confirmed my disgust of morality of duty. Yay! naturally Nietzschean.


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2006-12-23 [ceridwen]: Hmm... I think you think way too highly og Nietzche. He did have his faults, you know. Though... Kant's 'morality' is vile.

2006-12-23 [Dil*]: Nietzsch owns.

2006-12-23 [ceridwen]: Hmm... You rely on his ideas too much. He doesn't own all.

2006-12-23 [Dil*]: Have you read Nietzsche? How do you know that I rely on his ideas too much?

Actually, for this article, I was relying more on the confidence that Nietzsche agrees with me. It takes a bit too much arrogance for an 18 year old to insult Kant like I just did, but if Nietzsche calls him an idiot, I can too without feeling I'm going in way over my head. :)

-I was a determinist before nietzsche and can fully recognize Kant's freewill arguements to be piss-poor
-I made arguement against perfection myself
-I read Kant's morality before Nietzsche's the antichrist, meaning I thought it was stupid before nietzsche tore into him
-I'm a moral subjectivist not only because of nietzsche
-Kant's style of writing does nothing for me, I can barely understand what he's saying, I'm lucky to have found that annotated book

2006-12-23 [ceridwen]: Eh... you may not. I was just trying to be stopmped into the ground. ;P

And I agree with you on Kant. I was just teasing. You always mention Nietzche... and yeah....

As for perfection, it is attainable. If it wasn't how would we know what it is? It all depends on ones definition of perfect, which is relative and usually subjective.

2006-12-24 [Lost in Illusions]: Sorry, Kant is God. I hate him, too, but he will pwn any philosophy you try to bring against him.

2006-12-24 [Dil*]: "As for perfection, it is attainable. If it wasn't how would we know what it is? It all depends on ones definition of perfect, which is relative and usually subjective."

I said that in my rant :P

Kant maybe a God of philosophy, but his morality sucks, it sucks, it sucks, it sucks :)

 

2006-12-24 [ceridwen]: Really... well... Hmm.. I think I got confused.

"Perfection is something that is unachievable, and arbitrary."

Which is why I made the comment about perfection.

2006-12-25 [Dil*]: "If it wasn't how would we know what it is? It all depends on ones definition of perfect, which is relative and usually subjective. "

Since you agree perfection is subjective, then you agree with why you cannot make an objective morality out of it. We can imagine a perfection, but it's nothing but a prediction, not to mention, our senses would totally be unable to measure perfection (imperfect ruler to measure the perfect division).

2006-12-25 [ceridwen]: Soo... perfection doesn't really exist? it's just kind of a big bang theory, like big bang. Supported by little evidence, but widely accepted. xP

2006-12-25 [Dil*]: No, it exists as a concept, like the lines of latitude exists as a concept, but nothing more.

You do 'big bang' little justice, it does have a substantial amount of evidence.

2006-12-25 [ceridwen]: I know. I was teasing. But... it really doesn't have much evidence. And if you're talking about the red shifts, its pretty flimsy 'evidence'.

You know, I find it funny that you use big bang to refute creationsim. At one point many scientist didn't like big bang because they thought it was too religious.

2006-12-26 [Dil*]: Everything refutes creationism, and no, I did not use Big Bang to refute creationism specifically.

You mean, red and blue shift right? I think I've said this before, read about it, come back with some substantial critiques.

2006-12-27 [ceridwen]: Ah, well I've only ever heard of red shifts. I know quite a bit more about red shifts now, seeing as it was on my final exam. xP If I get around to caring enough, I'll try and look into it. I know my ignorant 'I ain't no monkey from no asplosion' agrument must get annoying.

2006-12-28 [Dil*]: how can you not know blue shift, they go hand in hand..

2006-12-28 [ceridwen]: Well... in my testbook it only mentions the red shifts from Doppler... and how the nice big ones indicate that other galaxies must be retreating from us. Heard nothing of the blue shifts...

2006-12-28 [Dil*]: sigh..

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