"Kant essays to prove the existence of a categorical imperative a priori from the idea of the will of a rational being. Will is conceived as a faculty determining itself to action according to certain laws. Now it is only an end that serves as an objective principle for the self-determination of the will, and only an end in itself that serves as a universal principle holding for all rational beings. But man, and indeed every rational being, is an end in himself, a person, and must in all actions, whether they regard self or others, be respected as such. Thus arises a supreme practical principle, objective and universal, derived not from experience, but from human nature itself; a principle from which, as the highest practical ground, all laws of the will are capable of being derived. This, then, is the categorical imperative, to be enunciated in the following terms: Act so as to use humanity, whether in your own person or in others, always as an end, and never merely as a means. "
"The merits of Kant's categorical imperative are said to consist in this: that it firmly establishes the reign of reason; elevates the dignity of man by subjecting in him sensibility to reason and making rational nature free, supreme, and independent; overcomes egoism by forbidding action from self-interest; and upholds morality by the highest authority. "
This actually does NOT "firmly establish[ ] the reign of reason..." Men are ends in themselves because of the individual sovereignty granted by the mere fact of his birth, by the fact that he is not under the authority of a state or a king or a dictator, but is free to act in his own self interests so long as he does not infringe on the sovereignty of others.
"As to Kant’s version of morality, it was appropriate to the kind of zombies that would inhabit that kind of [Kantian] universe: it consisted of total, abject selflessness. An action is moral, said Kant, only if one has no desire to perform it, but performs it out of a sense of duty and derives no benefit from it of any sort, neither material nor spiritual; a benefit destroys the moral value of an action. (Thus, if one has no desire to be evil, one cannot be good; if one has, one can.)
Those who accept any part of Kant’s philosophy—metaphysical, epistemological or moral—deserve it."
“For the New Intellectual,” For the New Intellectual; Ayn Rand
If you think abnegation of the self, of the ego, is not Kant's "imperitive," think again.
""The merits of Kant's categorical imperative...overcomes egoism by forbidding action from self-interest..." see link above
"Kant’s expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. He knew that it could not survive without a mystic base—and what it had to be saved from was reason...
"Even apart from the fact that Kant’s theory of the “categories” as the source of man’s concepts was a preposterous invention, his argument amounted to a negation, not only of man’s consciousness, but of any consciousness, of consciousness as such. His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears—deluded, because he has a mind—and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them." ibid Rand
"Make no mistake about the actual meaning of that premise [of the negation of consciousness]: it is a revolt, not only against being conscious, but against being alive—since in fact, in reality, on earth, every aspect of being alive involves a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. [selfishness, or rational egoism as the end purpose of individual sovereignty and reason]
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology; Rand
"No, Kant did not destroy reason; he merely did as thorough a job of undercutting as anyone could ever do.
If you trace the roots of all our current philosophies—such as pragmatism, logical positivism, and all the rest of the neo-mystics who announce happily that you cannot prove that you exist—you will find that they all grew out of Kant."
“Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World,”
Philosophy: Who Needs It; Rand
· 1 decade ago