Friday, November 24, 2006
I Think I Kant
I Think I Kant:
A Brief Discussion of Kant’s Categorical Imperative
In Comparison to Christ’s Categorical Imperative
A German thinker by the name of Immanuel Kant developed an ethics based around what he called his categorical imperative. The categorical imperative went something like this: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law. His maxim is often summed up in words similar to those found in the New Testament said by Christ: do unto others as you would do unto yourself.
The problem with Kant’s categorical imperative is that it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Many people are fooled into believing Kant’s categorical imperative is a good thing. In other words, what they see is that it resembles a maxim found in their own faith. Instead of saying “A” is like “B” and “A” is also unlike “B”, they assume that “A” is the same as “B” by the fact that it merely resembles something they know. When it is clear that “A” might equal “B”, it is not to say that “A” is the same as “B”.
Although it resembles the Christian maxim, it is really nothing like the Christian maxim as set by Christ. You see, Kant never really expands beyond the categorical imperative. He never gives any qualification for any maxim. That is, Kant never gives the person any idea on how to act. When compared to Christ we see that Christ is truly the superior thinker, for he knew that something like the categorical imperative could not stand-alone.
Christ not only gave us Kant’s categorical imperative some 1800 years earlier, he also qualified it by saying don’t hate, don’t kill, love your neighbor, love God, help the needy, and the list can continue. Where as Kant was afraid to challenge the person into loving other people who are most unlovable, Christ was bold enough to challenge the person even unto death. That is, Christ laid the foundation and built upon it. Kant gave a good foundation, but never bothered building upon it -- as if a person can live on foundation alone, Kant erred.
Moreover, Kant deals nothing with the person who is an asshole. That is, Kant’s categorical imperative sucks if you happen to be an asshole because as the same time you are willing into existence the universal law of assholeness. All asshole never really realize that they themselves are asshole. Therefore by treating others as asshole, they are willing into existence the maxim of assholeness as how the people of the word are to act towards one another. Kant does nothing in trying to make humanity better.
Yet Christ challenges the person to become better. By qualifying certain maxims in His categorical imperative, he challenges the believer to go from asshole to lover. I don’t see how Kant has tricked so much of our society when really he does nothing for society. Kant’s philosophy helps you to think you good, but his philosophy fails in telling us what is good. However, Christ’s actually makes you good, and He tells us what is good. Personally, the world is filled with enough assholes and needs no more. Let us not follow Kant’s categorical imperative.