I've been reading up and brushing up on the Enlightenment thinkers just for the hell of it...and I have a question of opinion and/or contrast of two Enlightenment Philosophers...
David Hume vs. Immanuel Kant.
Who do you like more?
To give you a few quotes from each of them see the following:
Kant or Hume?
David Hume (Scottish Philosopher) says the following…
"Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any
other office than to serve and obey them." "Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them."
"Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
"That the sun will not rise to-morrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more
contradiction, than the affirmation, that it will rise. "
"Art may make a suit of clothes; but nature must produce a man."
Immanuel Kant (German Philosopher): says the following…
“It always remains a scandal of philosophy and universal human reason that the existence of things outside us ... should have to be assumed merely on faith, and that if it occurs to anyone to doubt it, we should be unable to answer him with a satisfactory proof.”
To be is to do.
I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief.
Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.
What other Enlightenment thinkers do you think are awesome? LOL...what do you think member of THINK Atheist?....
Hume was a human being, while Kant was some kind of autistic robot.
"Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world." This is what Kant is famous for; but it's junk. We can find counter-examples every day. Why should I expect everyone to want to do the same things I do? How bizarre.
As Hume said "Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man."
Isn't Kant saying that one should act in a way which would be just/beneficial were others to act in the same way? I don't see that he asserted that one should expect others to follow one's example or be ruled by the principle but rather that it would be "safe" for them to do so.
That's one of the issues I have with philosphers in general, sort of like quoting biblical parables. Too criptic and subject to misinterpretation...
That quote is mirroring some interpretations of the Golden Rule, IMO.
Was that your point, Simon?
I'm absolutely stealing your assessment of Kant as don't think he would have been one I would wish to keep company.
"That quote is mirroring some interpretations of the Golden Rule, IMO." - why do you say that, Norm?
What if we do things that are not safe, yet we feel are OK for us to do? In other words, this provides a counter-example to his moral theory.
I think that he's going down a parallel to the do unto others- I should treat others in a way which I would find to be acceptable. In understand him to be advising that we should behave in a way in which others might also behave without adversely affecting other people.
It seems to me that these are two sides of the same coin: control one's behavior with regards that it has a positive effect on others. It seems that this is a clumsy way for it to be phrased and so would not wish to defend this point of view which is why I am simply checking out my interpretation.
Kant made a noble effort at finding objectivity, but in the end it's a failure. That's not to disparage him.
I can kind of see how his formulation is similar to the Golden Rule. He should have stuck to studying that. The Golden Rule is a very fruitful framework to study in its own right, and can account for much of the moral behaviour that we see.
An interesting area is mathematical evolutionary dynamics - especially looking at The Prisoner's Dilemma. It turns out we can make this equivalent to The Golden Rule - they call it Tit-for-Tat. Mathematically, the most sustainable strategy for cooperating with others (in computer simulations) is called "Generous Tit-for-Tat" - or The Golden Rule plus a certain amount of forgiveness. This is born out in real life. It also involves punishing, or at least not cooperating with, people who cheat, or "defect".
"... control one's behavior with regards that it has a positive effect on others." - yes, again, the Golden Rule. Related to reputation.
I would say this is a case of the Golden Rule operating between an individual and the group. We feel "I can cooperate with the group because the group is cooperating with me". We see this in zero-tolerance campaigns where petty disorder and crime is not allowed to continue, by the police, and this has a positive effect on the overall crime rate.
It could be interpreted that the principle of "doing things that are not safe, yet we feel are OK for us to do" is that people should have the right to free expression.
How do you define "safe" in this context?
"Isn't Kant saying that one should act in a way which would be just/beneficial were others to act in the same way?" - this is a minefield, not a simple and easily applicable rule.