Normative Relativism - PEPED

Normative Relativism - PEPED

Kant's Moral Argument for the existence of God And its relation to his ethical thought Copyright 2015 Active Education In a nutshell The 'argument' is found in the Critique of Pure Reason and the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals It is often described as a priori, inductive as it needs no experience. It is difficult to divorce this from Kant's general system of ethics. Ought implies can The moral world must be achievable

But it isn't in this life Therefore the moral world must be a future one (eschatological) There must be a distribution of happiness to the extent we are worthy to be happy This needs a wise regent to arbitrate. (i.e. God) God is, therefore, a necessary postulate of pure, practical reason God gives morality its telos but does not invent it. Copyright 2015 Active Education Types of statements and reasoning Before we can understand Kants moral argument, we must understand his view of reason: Kant seems to have a high and optimistic view of human reason. Indeed, it is axiomatic for his philosophical and ethical arguments that humans are able to discover truth using

their reason. His cosmology places humans with one foot in the phenomenal realm inhabited by animals, driven by desire, and one in the noumenal realm inhabited by God and angels, driven by reason. Thus, we are "amphibious" (as Prof. Douglas Hedley writes) Kant identifies different kinds of propositions: Phenomenal Realm animals driven by instinct humans Noumenal Realm God/Angels driven by reason

Copyright 2015 Active Education a posteriori and a priori You, sir, are no poet! an a posteriori proposition is one whose justification relies on experience e.g. There are many poets who have never versified, and there are many versifiers who shall never answer to the name of poet. (Sir Philip Sidney)

an a priori proposition is one whose justification does not rely on experience e.g. There are 3 angles in a triangle Copyright 2015 Active Education Analytic and synthetic statements Analytic = The subject concepts contain the predicate* concept. E,g, the concept of a bachelor contains the notion of being unmarried [unless youre talking about a Bachelor of Arts] Thus true or false by definition all bodies are extended (i.e. occupy space). Synthetic = The subject concepts do not contain the predicate concept: the concept of a rich bachelor does not contain notion of his desiring a wife . [cf Pride and Prejudice!]

Thus true or false empirically e.g. All bodies are heavy. Question: all unicorns are white analytic or synthetic? *A predicate is something that is being attributed to a subject, such as the sharpness of a knife or the wisdom of the fool. NB Ayer seems to use the terms Analytic & Synthetic slightly differently in the Copyright 2015 Active Education 20th Century Kants 4 types of propositions 1. 2. 3. 4. a priori analytic a priori synthetic a posteriori analytic

a posteriori synthetic Match the types to examples: a) It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. b) The First World War preceded the Second World War c) 7 + 5 = 12 d) Some teachers are patronising Copyright 2015 Active Education Kants 4 types of propositions 1. 2. 3. 4.

a priori analytic a priori synthetic a posteriori analytic a posteriori synthetic Which doesnt work? For Kant, a posteriori analytic is a non-sense. b) The First World War preceded the Second World War c) 7 + 5 = 12 a) It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. d) Some teachers are patronising Copyright 2015 Active Education

a priori synthetic In an a priori synthetic proposition, new information is learned that is not contained in statements themselves. In Kants example of 5+7=12, the concept of 12 is not contained, separately, within the concept of 5 or 7, yet we do not need experience of 5 and 7 things to work out that 5+7=12 Kantian ethics is a priori, synthetic (without experience, but the predicate is not contained within the subject) E.g. Lying is unethical the predicate unethical is not contained within the concept of lying, but we do not have to experience lying to work out that it is unethical. Copyright 2015 Active Education Kants 3 Questions The Doctrine of Method, Chapter 2, 2 in Kants Critique of Pure Reason poses the following three questions:

1. What can I know? This is speculative reasoning and is concerned with epistemology 2. What should I do? This is practical reasoning and concerned with morality 3. What may I hope? This is practical and speculative and concerned with our telos. Copyright 2015 Active Education What may I hope? All hope concerns happiness. This is "the satisfaction of all our inclinations" Humans can hope to be happy to the extent they are worthy of happiness. Kant then identifies three laws we tend to follow: The law prudence, the law of nature and the moral law Copyright 2015 Active Education The law of prudence Doing something in order to achieve some end from the motive of happiness. E.g I will revise because it might help me pass my exam

Sounds like Bentham! Kant recognises that we are often driven by this law. His example: we sometimes decide not to lie because we realise that we might not be trusted in the future if found out it would not benefit us in the future and thus is not prudent. However this is stupid because we cannot be certain what will make us happy. "[Man] is not capable of determining with complete certainty, in accordance with any principle, what will make him truly happy, because omniscience would be required for that." This is not moral ! Copyright 2015 Active Education Law of nature The naturalistic fallacy derives an ought from an is or a can. i.e. From a state of affairs is drawn the false conclusion that this state of affairs should be.

E.g. 'Humans seek pleasure. Therefore humans ought to seek pleasure.'' Just because you can does not mean you should! "I can cheat in my exam" does Politicians not mean you ought to. Logic: This is not moral! Something must be done! This is something Therefore I should do it! - Sir Humphrey Appleby, Yes Minister Copyright 2015 Active Education The moral law commands how we should behave in order even to be worthy of happiness. Is entirely based on obligation

This is the opposite of the natural law I should do x, therefore x is good. E.g. I ought to revise, therefore revision is moral. One is obligated to obey the moral law regardless of one's feelings Because Copyright 2015 Active Education The good will Is the only consistently good thing. i.e. The will to do what one must do is always good. "The good will is good not through what it effects or accomplishes, not through its efficacy for attaining any intended end, but only through its willing, i.e., good in itself" (Groundwork, Preface) Wanting to help others is not consistently good (helping a criminal to evade justice)

Compare to Aquinas' idea of synderesis and the desire to do good and avoid evil Copyright 2015 Active Education Difference with three laws Add to the table with further examples Law of prudence Law of nature Moral law I should not cheat on my partner because I might get found out. I feel like cheating on my partner so I should

I should be faithful to my partner I should kill this armed bandit before he kills me I must not lie I could steal this unicycle and get away on it Copyright 2015 Active Education Imperfect and holy wills Because our wills are imperfect, there is no necessary relationship between moral truths/laws and our will. Nothing compels us to moral action from the fact of the moral truths.

E.g. We might reason that being kind to people is good but that doesn't compel us to be kind to people Thus we need an imperative to direct our wills. Moral truths E.g "Be kind to people" However a holy will, such as God's, is wholly in accordance with moral truths and therefore needs no imperatives. God is not a moral agent Copyright 2015 Active Education Ought implies can If we are to be obliged to do something, it must be possible for us to do.

We cannot be obliged to fly out of a window since cannot do it! I ought to do the washing up It must be possible for me to do so. However, it is not always possible to be moral in this world For since [moral precepts] command that these actions ought to happen, they must also be able to happen, and there must therefore be possible a special kind of systematic unity, namely the moral. Copyright 2015 Active Education The moral world I call the world as it would be if it were in conformity with all moral laws a moral world

Is intelligible Is where everyone is moral Must be possible Isn't possible here. Therefore must be a world that is future to us It really can and should have its influence on the sensible world. Presumably this links to Kant's notion of the "kingdom of ends" which he says, in the Groundwork is possible as "every rational being must act as if it were through its maxims always a legislative member" of/in. Copyright 2015 Active Education Self-rewarding morality When everyone autonomously acts according to the moral law,

they will be happy Kant suggests that, in the moral world, freedom, partly moved and partly restricted by moral laws would itself be the cause of the general happiness. Rational beings would be the authors of their own enduring welfare as well as that of others. However, this rests on the condition that everyone do what he should. This clearly hasnt happened yet! Copyright 2015 Active Education Summum bonum the highest good I call the idea of such an intelligence, in which the morally most perfect will, combined with the highest blessedness, is the cause of all happiness in the world, insofar as it stands in exact relation with morality, the ideal of the highest good.

This highest good is the end, or aim of all morality then its telos. Again, this goes back to Kants idea of the moral world. Copyright 2015 Active Education The necessary postulation Although the senses do not present us with anything except a world of appearances, we must assume the moral world to be a consequences of our conduct in the sensible world; and since the latter does not offer such a connection to us, we must assume the former to be a world that is future for us. Thus God and a future life are two presuppositions that are not to be separated from the obligation that pure reason imposes on us in accordance with principle of that very same reason. i.e. We must postulate the existence of God and an eschatological moral world if we are to be obligated to do anything and if there is to be a distribution of happiness to the extent that we are worthy of happiness.

Copyright 2015 Active Education God the wise regent In order for happiness to be distributed precisely in accordance with morality it must be done so by a wise author and regent. A (weak) analogy might be that of a teacher distributing grades to students based on their performance in a test. Everyone regards moral laws as commands Disobeying these carries a threat Obeying them carries a promise. This, however, they could not do if they did not lie in a necessary being, as the highest good, which alone can make possible such a purposive unity. The very-much-notwise-Prince Regent in Blackadder III

i.e. God gives the moral law its purpose Copyright 2015 Active Education Nature of God In order for morality to achieve its unified end, the wise regent must be a single, rational, perfect will or else there would be disunity "for how, with different wills should we find complete unity of ends?" This solves one of the problems Hume identified with the teleological and cosmological arguments in his question, why not more than one designer (or efficient cause). Omnipotent "so that nature and its relation to morality and nature may be subject to it" Omniscient "that it may know the most secret springs of our sentiments and their moral worth" .i.e. so the goodness of our wills can be judged Omnipresent so it can be near to effect justice Eternal so it may never fail. Copyright 2015 Active Education If there were no God Morality would not achieve its end Without a God and a world that is now not visible to us but is hoped for, the majestic ideas of morality are, to be sure, objects of approbation and admiration, but not incentives." Thus happiness in exact proportion with the morality of rational beings, through which they are worthy of it, alone constitutes the highest good." Copyright 2015 Active Education Common misconceptions with the moral argument

Kant argues we should act morally to be worthy of happiness. NO! We do not act morally to gain brownie points to be worthy of happiness. This is not moral and goes against the deontological nature of his ethical theory. Indeed, by acting to make yourself worthy of happiness you would not be worthy of happiness! That it takes the form of a deductive argument God is a necessary postulate. He must be assumed but cannot be proven. Remember Kant rejects the cosmological argument (mostly for its basis on the ontological argument). He also rejects natural theology. Speculative reason cannot bring us to God. God determines what the moral law is. NO! (see the next slide) Copyright 2015 Active Education Are things pious because they are loved by the gods, or do the gods love them because they are pious? Socrates to Euthyphro in Platos Euthyphro Kant vs Euthyphro

Kant clearly rejects the horn of the dilemma that states things are good because God commands them. He also says that, having arrived at the conclusion that there must be a God, we do not forget the process of moral reasoning and revert back to some sort of divine command theory. If we merely followed divine commands, morality would be heteronomous, not autonomous. Remember one of the problems in the original Euthyphro dialogue was that in a polytheistic system the gods disagree. Poseidon hates Odysseus but Athene loves him. Thus why what is pious cannot be merely what is beloved by the gods. But, for Kant there is only one We will not regard things to be obligatory because they are divine God. commands but rather we will regard them to be divine commands because we are internally obligated to them. Copyright 2015 Active Education

A Caveat Having arrived at the necessary postulation of God, we cannot then start from God and work backwards in some sort of Divine Command Theory. Now when practical reason has attained this high point, namely the concept of a single original being as the highest good, it must not undertake to start out from this concept and derive the moral laws themselves from it. It was these [moral] laws alone whose inner practical necessity led us to the presupposition of a self-sufficient cause or a wise world-regent in order to give effect to these laws. Copyright 2015 Active Education

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