• @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    461 month ago

    Something that’s weirdly stuck with me (even though he’s not my favorite philosopher) is Kant’s Categorical Imperative which says, briefly, do only the things that would still be okay if everyone did them.

    I think it fills in a nice gap left by the golden rule (treat others as you’d like to be treated) in drawing attention to how some things which don’t seem to do much harm would be a major problem if broadly adopted.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      91 month ago

      But not everyone wants to do the same thing or be treated the same way. In fact, people all want to do different things. You can’t get 100% of people to agree on anything. If you walked down the street with a hammer and asked 100 people “do you want to be hit in the head?” you couldn’t get them all to say “no”.

      There are other objections that are more specific:

      One of the first major challenges to Kant’s reasoning came from the French philosopher Benjamin Constant, who asserted that since truth telling must be universal, according to Kant’s theories, one must (if asked) tell a known murderer the location of his prey.

      In this reply, Kant agreed with Constant’s inference, that from Kant’s own premises one must infer a moral duty not to lie to a murderer.

      Kant denied that such an inference indicates any weakness in his premises: not lying to the murderer is required because moral actions do not derive their worth from the expected consequences.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative

      Basically, the categorical imperative is too inflexible to be practical.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        2
        edit-2
        1 month ago

        I can’t disagree, except to the extent that I don’t personally view the CI as a means to reaching some objective, universally “good” set of actions. I think Kant was way off the mark with a lot of that pursuit. I do think, however, that an action which fails to satisfy the CI (meaning as I see it, “I want to do this but I don’t think others should”) is often one that should be re-evaluated.

        But also I took like 3 philosophy courses so I’m officially in way over my head now but enjoy the discussion!

    • @afraid_of_zombies
      link
      61 month ago

      The categorical imperative is cute but doesn’t work. It ignores all context for actions and assumes all people are pretty much the same.

      1. A surgeon is allowed to cut open people in an attempt to save them, me a person not medically trained is not allowed to do that. If you applied the rule “to save a person I am allowed to attempt to operate on them and do my best” to every person we would be in serious trouble.

      2. If I do a small bad thing it will prevent a very bad thing from happening. The categorical imperative forces me to ignore that fact.

      Also doesn’t really match how social animals operate and instead demands that we ignore how we are treated in our responses.

      1. I want people to be kind to each other. This particular person is never kind to me. The categorical imperative tells me that I am not supposed to take that into account and instead just shower resources on someone who has shown no appreciation for them in hopes that they eventually see the error of their ways. Despite having a winning strategy.

      Basically it puts way too much on people and demands that they be lawful stupid.

      • @overcast5348
        link
        91 month ago

        Somebody who isn’t a pedant would interpret that as “All trained surgeons performing this procedure on their respective patients with the same condition would be fine. So me, a trained surgeon, performing this procedure is also fine.”

        • @afraid_of_zombies
          link
          4
          edit-2
          1 month ago

          Sure you can do that and you can keep doing that until you get whatever result you want.

          People shouldn’t steal, people shouldn’t steal unless it is emergency, people shouldn’t steal unless it is an emergency or a very strong need, people shouldn’t steal unless it is an emergency or a very strong need or the ownership is disputed…

          The problem with the categorical imperative is that it isn’t contextual, advocates will argue that it is its strength, the solution is to just add context which of course you are free to do, but it is no longer the categorical imperative.

          Edit: worth noting that Kant was a Christian who really emphasized salvation through morality. Which would mean if Kant saw a chance for you to do the right thing even if it kills you he would say do it since your soul matters much more than your body ever could. This type of non-contextual lawful stupid morality was very common in that tradition.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        31 month ago

        For the first I think not being trained and having the knowledge of surgery is categorically different, so I don’t think that critiques holds up.

        For your last point i think the rationalzation would be: “Punishing people for bad behavior is something that if everyone did would be good.”

        Your second point holds more water and is the standard critique (and my personal stance) on it though. My only critique against it use is that I think too often people think they and their circumstances to exceptional and they more clever then they are.

        • @afraid_of_zombies
          link
          41 month ago

          For the first I think not being trained and having the knowledge of surgery is categorically different, so I don’t think that critiques holds up.

          Rule is don’t do anything unless you want it to be universal. It doesn’t say if the training levels are different.

          For your last point i think the rationalzation would be: “Punishing people for bad behavior is something that if everyone did would be good.”

          Right except this won’t work. We can’t have the entire population be judge, jury, and executor. Which means we have to designate certain segments of the population to be specialized in punishing people. Breaking the universal nature of the categorical imperative.

          The whole thing can’t be fixed. It lacks all context so what people try to do is add context in. And the reason why it lacks all context was Kant was working backwards. He wanted the thou shall and thou shall nots morality of the bible without God given revelation. The only way to pull this off was make man replace god, all powerful and all weak at the same time. Humans were to be their own judge of what was right and wrong with no one’s opinion better than anyone else’s. At the same time any rule they declared they were bound so strongly that it crippled them. Morality isn’t a way for humans to live happy lives with each other, morality is to be a chain that we ourselves made and bound ourselves with.

          Don’t worry however, sure you had to watch your kid die of starvation rather than steal bread, Kant is firmly convinced God will even the score in heaven.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        English
        11 month ago

        I interpret the categorical imperative differently than you do. I agree that one of the most straightforward readings of it seems to be advocating for everyone to be lawful stupid — “lawful stupid” is the perfect phrase for how I first interpreted Kant when I’d only heard about fragments of his ideas.

        I find this lawful stupid conclusion to be a useful step towards thinking about the categorical imperative in a useful way. Sort of like “what would need to be true in order for this to make sense?”.

        For example, in your second point, I think the categorical imperative might ask us to “zoom out” and consider why we’re in a situation where we have to make a bad choice. After facing such a choice, people may ease their conscience afterwards by convincing themselves that the bad thing they did was actually good because it prevented a worse thing. I feel like a more Kantian response would be to let oneself be uncomfortable with the small bad deed, in order to understand how to prevent that from being necessary again in future.

        I think that zooming out to get more context is often the solution to lawful stupid. Your final example resonated with me because that situation is something I’ve struggled with a few times in my life. When I have cut harmful people from my life, it was because it was clear that they were hurting me to an unreasonable degree, and diminishing my capability for kindness. One of those times, I didn’t so much decide to cut someone off, more to just spend my energy where it would be more useful, which led to me cultivating a network that helped me to realise how toxic that friendship had been.

        Personally, reading Kant has led me to take a more “ecological” view in areas like this, where I consider myself as one small part of a much wider system. I haven’t read Kant in too much depth though, so I’d appreciate any input you might have — I’m very much a scientist dabbling in Philosphy, so I have a lot to learn. In particular, I’m curious about if there’s an alternative philosophical framework that you find does work for you.

        • @afraid_of_zombies
          link
          21 month ago

          Please read a basic guide on deuontological ethics. It is so clear that context really doesn’t matter to Kant. All morality flowed through duty and not even the agent mattered. For me to do action x (according to Kant) has the same moral value as anyone else doing it.

          It’s kinda nice what you people are doing. You are taking something clearly broken and fixing it. It is a lot less nice to retrocon it. We know what the man said.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        1
        edit-2
        1 month ago

        I think the CI is far from a universal law that solves all problems. But I do think it can be among a set of useful tests to judge an action. I’m not sure the surgeon example is in good faith - a reasonable interpretation might be “Help others to the extent that you are trained and able to”, which gets you pretty close to most Good Samaritan laws.

        Most imperatives taken literally and expected to fit every situation and interpretation will fall apart quickly, I think this one is no better or worse than others. Probably the way I’ve internalized it is different from how it was originally intended, too!

        • @afraid_of_zombies
          link
          11 month ago

          Cool. Except the man who came up with it doesn’t agree with you.

          Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law

          As I mentioned before. Do what you want but unless you are following it universally you aren’t following it.

    • cabbage
      link
      fedilink
      51 month ago

      What might have stuck with me the most from Kant is the simple principle of treating people as ends, not as means.

      Partly because when reading it I didn’t immediately understand the meaning of “ends” in this context, so I had to think about it for a while in order to just understand what was going on. Still though, I think it’s a valid principle, and one that everyone should strive to live by.

  • @morphballganon
    link
    401 month ago

    The idea of “correlation does not equal causation” allows me to find a better understanding of how things are connected. If you notice two phenomena often coincide, you might assume one causes the other. However, just as likely is that the two phenomena are each distinct effects of a common cause.

    • @Nibodhika
      link
      41 month ago

      Not just common cause, sometimes is just a coincidence. And every time someone doesn’t understand what “correlation does not imply causation” means, send him this site: https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations first chart today is how the number of Google searches for “I can’t even” is directly correlated to the amount of yogurt consumption.

  • @Mickey7
    link
    321 month ago

    that you are making a big mistake to view the present or past events only from your current perspective.

  • @Adulated_Aspersion
    link
    201 month ago

    I disagreed with one of my Philosophy course instructors vehemently regarding religion and pushing religious views on others.

    Due to my inability to “suck it up and shut up” during class, I was frequently at odds with the professor.

    Due to that, my papers were graded more and more harshly. At the middle point of the semester, I had a D.

    What my shitty professor taught me was that sometimes you just need to regurgitate what the person in power believes just to survive. I quit raising my hand or arguing during class, and I just word vomited his BS during assignments and tests. He smuggly thought he won me over to his views by the end of the course.

    I walked with a B at the end of the course. After the final grades were official, the professor wanted me to join an advanced Philosophy course with him.

    In some terms or another, I told him that I would not join the additonal course. I also mentioned that I felt that he used his lecturn as a pulpit to push his views on a younger generation. I told him that he didn’t have a convert, but he did teach me a lot on what not to be.

    • Nora
      link
      fedilink
      61 month ago

      This is the reason I’m Vegan. I sure hope aliens or any super intelligence out there is vegan as well, haha.

      • @multifariace
        link
        11 month ago

        Yeah, plants deserve to be consumed in great quantity. They are selfish in this world. They hoard 90% of the energy in our biosphere for themselves. They even use chemical weapons to keep us from this energy we work hard to gather for enough to survive. Other non-autotrophic species know our plight and many share in this quest. Except for those sympathizer cats and raptors who will eat our babies to protect their photosynthesizing overlords. We must all reap for our lives. Vivat biodome!

  • @phoneymouse
    link
    171 month ago

    I studied philosophy. It helped me form my own worldview and ask the big questions most people ignore or let manipulators answer for them. It gives you freedom to have control over what you think. If you don’t figure it out for yourself, someone else out there would gladly do it for you in a way that serves them.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    171 month ago

    The biggest thing I learned in philosophy is that there are a significant number of people that are just fine with terrible things being done to a person if they didn’t take any precautions against it. Apparently it’s fine to rob someone if they didn’t lock their door.

    Knowing how many people are apparently incapable of basic abstractions has been eye opening.

    • @RememberTheApollo_
      link
      61 month ago

      Apparently it’s fine to rob someone if they didn’t lock their door.

      Future CEOs and financial sector drivers.

      If there’s no barrier against it, they do it until they’re forced not to.

    • @nucleative
      link
      English
      71 month ago

      Studying this topic in early university added a lot of value to my thinking process. Also software developers can relate intuitively. And yet, somehow surprisingly few people know how to break down their arguments in this way.

  • PP_BOY_
    link
    141 month ago

    Plenty. Learning how to define and identify common fallacies is maybe the most immediate thing that comes to mind.

  • @scorpious
    link
    121 month ago

    Cultivating and sharpening the ability to distinguish between what actually happened vs my (or others’) narrative about what happened is one of the more valuable tools I have acquired.

  • @ShittyBeatlesFCPres
    link
    English
    111 month ago

    I didn’t major in it but took a few courses. I think just learning different frameworks to analyze situations is most helpful. When something in the world is complex, you at least have tools to approach an understanding of it.

  • @afraid_of_zombies
    link
    101 month ago

    Took an intro.

    Logical fallacies, which lead me to the informal ones. Those are highly useful in corporate settings. Suck cost, circular reasoning, and ought from an is.

    Not every day but pretty much any time I hear or read someone say something about Kant or Hume I know that they are wrong and not bother. I would say the same about Plato but he doesn’t really have any modern apologists.

  • @inb4_FoundTheVegan
    link
    10
    edit-2
    1 month ago

    My philosophy class turned my vegan, no one else in the class was to my knowledge nor something I expected. But when discussing the social contract, it felt so arbitrary that I had a moral obligation to not harm humans but nothing for animals. Both of their suffering is understandable to me, so why is one permissible and the other forbidden?

    Anyways, like 8 years ago now and still vegan. I’m very much not an “animal” or “nature” person. Just someone interested in philosophy and came across something that bothered me deeply. Obviously it was the most impactful class I have ever taken.

  • @UnpluggedFridge
    link
    81 month ago

    Harvard has made Sandel’s “Justice” course available online for free. Definitely worth a watch.

    • @merari42
      link
      11 month ago

      I also really liked his books. For me as an economist “What money can’t buy” and the “The Tyranny of Merit” were especially interesting because I had a moral philosophy background that was quite typical for economists and didn’t question my very market-centric ethos.

    • @model_tar_gz
      link
      11 month ago

      I learned that with Solidworks and other engineering simulation software. Now I am Philosophy Derp.