Kant: Lesson 1

What Matters is the Motive/Immanuel Kant

?The Groundwork takes up a big question. What is it?|What is the supreme principle of morality

?Of the three approaches to justice, which one does Kant subscribe to?|connecting justice to freedom

?Why does Kant think that every person is worthy of respect?|every person is capable of rationality and has autonomy

What is Freedom

?Kant thinks that we are 2 kinds of creatures, what are they?|sentient and rational

?True or False. The role of nature or nurture is besides the point because both have our behavior being not free|true

?What does it mean to act autonomously?|to act according to a law I give myself – not according to the dictates of nature or social convention

?What does it mean to act heteronomously?|to act according to determinations given outside of me

“Here, then, is the link between freedom as autonomy and Kant’s idea of morality. To act freely is not to choose the best means to a given end; it is to choose the end itself, for its own sake – a choice that human beings can make and billiard balls( and most animals) cannot” (109).

?To act freely, one must choose the end in itself, right?|yes

?What does it mean to act freely?|To choose the end in itself

?Are we instruments or authors when we act heteronomously?|instruments

What’s moral? Look for the Motive

?Is it enough that an action conforms to the moral law?|no

?What must be added?|it must be done for the sake of the moral law

?Are actions of inclination morally worthy?|no

?Are actions of duty morally worthy?|yes

?”The compassion of the altruist deserves praise and encouragement, but not __________” (114).|esteem

“What matters, Kant tells us, is that the good deed be done because it’s the right thing to do – whether or not doing it gives us pleasure” (115).

“As long as he(spelling bee hero) did the right thing for the right reason, feeling good about it doesn’t undermine its moral worth” (116).

?True or False. It’s hard to sort out duties and inclinations in practice|true

What is the Supreme Principle of Morality?

?If you know what duty requires, then you know what?|the supreme principle of morality

?How does Sandel answer this?|by connecting three big ideas: morality, freedom and reason

What are the following contrasts?

?Contrast 1(morality)|duty v. inclination

?Contrast 2(freedom)|autonomy v. heteronomy

?Contrast 3(reason)|categorical v. hypothetical imperatives

?In order to be free, we must act outside of laws given to us by nature. How do we have freedom?|by giving laws to ourselves

?Where does such a law come from, the law that we give ourselves?|reason

?Kant’s idea of reason is not of the instrumental kind, but of what kind?|pure practical reason

?Pure practical reason legislates a priori. What does a priori mean in this sense?|reason exists in the mind prior to and independent of experience

Categorical Versus Hypothetical Imperatives

?There are two kinds of reason that command the will, what are they?|categorical and hypothetical imperative

?What is the hypothetical imperative?|Do y to achieve x

?Hypoethical imperative are always what?|conditional

?By categorical, Kant means what?|unconditional

?Does a categorical imperative apply regardless of the circumstances?|yes

?What imperative qualifies as an imperative of morality?|categorical

?To be free means that I act autonomously, but what imperative does autonomy require?|categorical

?How many formulations does Sandel write about in regards to the categorical imperative?|2

?What’s the first formulation?|Universalize your maxim

?What’s the second formulation?|Treat persons as ends

?Do these formulations amount to the same thing?|yes

?By maxim, Kant means what?|rule or principle

Morality and Freedom

“We can now see the link, as Kant conceives it, between morality and freedom. Acting morally means acting out of duty – for the sake of the moral law. The moral law consists of a categorical imperative, a principle that requires us to treat persons with respect, as ends in themselves. Only when I act in accordance with the categorical imperative am I acting freely” (124).

?What is the link between morality and freedom?|1. Acting morally means acting out of duty for the sake of the moral law. 2. The moral law consists of a categorical imperative. 3. The categorical imperative requires us to treat persons as ends in themselves. 4 Only when I act in accordance with the categorical imperative am I acting freely.

?Acting freely is to act ________________|autonomously

?Acting morally is to act according to the _____________|categorical imperative

?True or False. Acting freely and acting autonomously are one and the same|True

Questions for Kant

?Why isn’t the Golden Rule the same as the categorical imperative?|the golden rule relies on the contingent facts about the person

?How can I be free if I must answer to a call of duty?|when I’m the author of a law given to myself I have a duty to obey

?What guarantees everyone will choose the same moral law?|we choose the moral law as rational beings, not as particular persons that we are. Everyone who exercises pure practical reason will reach the same conclusion.

?What if science proves that we don’t have a free will?|Science can’t prove or disprove the freedom of the will

This question falls into the 4th contrast, the contrast of standpoints.

?What is the contrast of the standpoints?|intelligible v. sensible realms

?What kind of being belongs to the intelligible realm?|rational

?What kind of being belongs to the sensible realm?|natural

?Which beings are free, rational or natural?|rational

?But are humans both natural and rational creatures?|yes

?So in order to see ourselves as being free, we must exit the empirical realm. Is this true?|yes

?”We can’t prove that they [morality and freedom] exist, but neither can we make sense of our moral lives without __________________________ them” (129).|presupposing

Sex, Lies, and Politics

?Why doesn’t Kant like casual sex?|it violates the categorical imperative

?Specifically, what formulation of the categorical imperative?|treating persons as ends in themselves

?Does acting autonomously require that I act out of the categorical imperative?|yes

?Why doesn’t Kant allow white lies?|it makes exceptions to the moral law on consequentialist grounds

?What formulation of the categorical imperative is violated when lying?|Universalizing the maxim

?What does Kant offer instead to the white lie?|A true but misleading statement

?Is this what Bill Clinton did with defining sex?|yes

?Does Kant’s political theory derive its justice and rights from a social contract?|yes

?But how is Kant’s contract different from his predecessors?|Kant’s contract is hypothetical

?There are two reasons why Kant thinks a contract must be hypothetical. What are they?|Practical: can’t really prove that any historical social contract ever took place. Philosophical: moral principles can’t be derived from empirical facts alone.

?Kant didn’t tell us what this contract would look like or what principles of justice would follow from it. Who did a couple of centuries later?|John Rawls