Second formulation of the moral law
The objective end given through reason must be equally valid for all rational beings (427).
The worth of ends effected by a rational being is relative to what that rati0nal being wants (427).
Hence no such end is an objective end given through reason (427).
ground of practical law ßŕ its existence has absolute worth (428)
A rational being alone has absolute worth (428).
Hence FH: Act so that you use humanity, as much in your own person as in that of another, always at the same time as end and never merely as means. (429)
Humanity = that predisposition of human beings through which they have the rational capacities to set ends, use means to them, and organize them into a whole (happiness) (p. 47, n. 63)
NB: ‘never merely as means’, equivalent to universalizability
1. Self-preservation (429)
Can the action of suicide subsist with the idea of humanity as an end in itself?
To destroy oneself in order to flee from a burdensome condition is to use a person (oneself) merely as a means.
Hence I cannot dispose of the human being in my own person so as to maim, corrupt or kill him.
Questions about it
1. Why does Kant think that to destroy oneself to flee from a burdensome condition is to fail to use the humanity in oneself as an end? (What does “using humanity as an end” mean here?)
2. Does his argument imply that suicide is always immoral? Why, or why not?
3. Why does the conclusion talk about maiming and corrupting?
2. No false promises (429-430)
The one I want to use by making a false promise cannot possibly be in harmony with my way of behaving.
So the one I want to use cannot contain in himself the end of my action.
So to make a lying promise to another is to use him merely as a means.
By similar reasoning, attacks on the freedom or property of others treat them merely as a means.
Questions about it
1. What assumption enables Kant to draw each inference?
2. What do these assumptions tell us about what Kant’s conception of using someone merely as a means?
3. Does Kant’s argument imply that lying is always wrong?
4. Why does Kant talk about attacks on others’ freedom or property?
3. Self-cultivation (430)
One’s actions must not merely be compatible with humanity as an end in itself but must further it.
Human predispositions to greater perfection are ends of nature with regard to the humanity in our subject.
Hence we have a duty to develop our predispositions to greater perfection.
Questions about it
1. Why does Kant think that using humanity as an end implies furthering this humanity?
2. What scope does Kant’s argument allow for qualification of the duty of self-cultivation or its influence by inclination?
4. Beneficence (430)
If I am to regard the subject as an end in itself, its ends must as far as possible be my ends as well.
To contribute nothing to others’ happiness is to lack a positive agreement with humanity as an end in itself.
Hence one must aspire as much as one can to further the ends of others.
Questions about it
1. What conception of using humanity as an end is implicit in Kant’s requirement of a positive agreement with humanity as an end in itself?
2. What scope does Kant’s argument allow for qualification of the duty of beneficence or its influence by inclination?
Questions about FH
Third formulation of the moral law
arises from the second formulation (431)
grounded on the idea of “the will of every rational being as a will giving universal law” (FA, 431)
a principle of the “autonomy” (self-legislation) of the will (431)
realm of ends = an ideal combination of rational beings through common objective laws
FRE: Act only so that the will could through its maxim at the same time consider itself as universally legislative (434).
NB: ‘could’, legislative for an ideal realm (not for a state)
Dignity and price (434-436)
to have a price = to be capable of having something equivalent put in its place
to have a dignity = to have inner worth with no equivalent substitute
Morality alone has dignity.
Why? Because virtue gets its possessor a share in the universal legislation, and so possible membership in the realm of ends.
Hence autonomy is the ground of the dignity of every rational nature.
Issue: Is Kant’s argument that rational beings have intrinsic worth circular?
Maxims and formulas (436)
The three formulas
Kant: one principle not three.
Are the formulas equivalent? Or do they differ in that:
some acts are ruled out by universalizability but allowed by respect for autonomy?
some acts are ruled out by respect for autonomy but allowed by universalizability?
some acts are ruled out by universalizability but allowed by legislation for a realm of ends?
some acts are ruled out by legislation for a realm of ends but allowed by universalizability?
some acts are ruled out by respect for autonomy but allowed by legislation for a realm of ends?
some acts are ruled out by legislation for a realm of ends but allowed by respect for autonomy ?
heteronomy ŕ morality conditioned on something else ŕ merely hypothetical imperative (441-442)
empirical principles (happiness) unsuited
One’s own happiness is an incentive that undermines morality and is an incentive to vice (442).
Moral feeling is infinitely variable and not a sound basis for judgment (442).
rational principles at least appeal to pure reason
Perfection as an end is indeterminate. Its determination tends to covertly presuppose morality (443).
Perfection as a cause either covertly imports morality into God or founds morality on something opposed to morality.
NB: heteronomy a source of principles not a principle or way of acting, not all heteronomous principles are selfish
Review of second section
Reasons for basing morality on reason rather than experience
Concept of a rational being
Commands and imperatives: types
How imperatives are possible
First formula of the moral law (FUL, FLN)
Its application to 4 examples (4 types of duties)
2 ways a maxim can fail the test of FLN
Second formula of the moral law (FH)
Its application to the same 4 examples
Third formula of the moral law (FA, FRE): dignity vs. price
Relation of the 3 formulas to our maxims
Inadequacies of heteronomous principles of morality
Transition to Section 3
What morality is, if it exists, has been shown (445).
That it exists has not been shown (444).
We need to move from the metaphysics of morals to a critique of pure practical reason (445).
Third section: transition to the critique of pure practical reason (Ak 4:4446-463)
Reflection due by midnight Sunday, Oct. 4
Essay proposal due in class Oct. 6
Freedom as the explanation of autonomy
Freedom of the will as a presupposition
Our interest in being moral
How a categorical imperative is possible
The limit of practical philosophy