Poll: What Government approach would you prefer?
Categorical Imperative
Utilitarianism
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Categorical Imperative VS Utilitarianism
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17-07-2013, 11:45 AM
Categorical Imperative VS Utilitarianism
I've been wanting to post this thread for about a month now but didn't feel it would be appropriate whilst I was Admin because it pertains to systems of governance (and so could be applied to this forum), now I am no longer Admin I see no reason to not post it.

The question I'm exploring is; would we prefer our Governments to act according to Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative, or according to Utilitarianism (I covered these in school about six years ago so if my descriptions are slightly off then please forgive me, the question will still be valid though).

Kant's Categorical Imperative states (there have been various wording but this is the one I learnt originally, and I like it);

Act only on that maxim through which you can, at the same time will, that it should become a universal law.

This means that we, in life, we should choose principles to live by, but we should only adopt principles that we would want every person in existence to adopt. We should then stick rigidly to these principles.

Utilitarianism is the view that in any given situation we should act in the way that brings the greatest good to the greatest number of people.

The question is; which approach would you like your Government to take?

My view (and this really won't surprise many of you) is that I prefer the Categorical Imperative. I think it considers the long-term as opposed to the short-term and I think the problem with modern day politics is that the system is set up to only consider the short-term. I also think Utilitarianism leads to corruption. According to Utilitarianism it would be acceptable for the US and UK to invade Iraq simply for oil because the benefits to the economy in the US and UK would cause greater good to those countries than doing nothing (in this situation the people in Iraq don't matter as our Governments aren't actually responsible for them). According to the Categorical Imperative it wouldn't be acceptable for our Governments to engage in such actions because, to do so, they'd have to truly want other countries to treat them in the same way should the situation be reversed, and they wouldn't want that.

Anyone else got any opinions?

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17-07-2013, 03:25 PM
RE: Categorical Imperative VS Utilitarianism
(17-07-2013 11:45 AM)Hughsie Wrote:  I've been wanting to post this thread for about a month now but didn't feel it would be appropriate whilst I was Admin because it pertains to systems of governance (and so could be applied to this forum), now I am no longer Admin I see no reason to not post it.

The question I'm exploring is; would we prefer our Governments to act according to Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative, or according to Utilitarianism (I covered these in school about six years ago so if my descriptions are slightly off then please forgive me, the question will still be valid though).

Kant's Categorical Imperative states (there have been various wording but this is the one I learnt originally, and I like it);

Act only on that maxim through which you can, at the same time will, that it should become a universal law.

This means that we, in life, we should choose principles to live by, but we should only adopt principles that we would want every person in existence to adopt. We should then stick rigidly to these principles.

Utilitarianism is the view that in any given situation we should act in the way that brings the greatest good to the greatest number of people.

The question is; which approach would you like your Government to take?

My view (and this really won't surprise many of you) is that I prefer the Categorical Imperative. I think it considers the long-term as opposed to the short-term and I think the problem with modern day politics is that the system is set up to only consider the short-term. I also think Utilitarianism leads to corruption. According to Utilitarianism it would be acceptable for the US and UK to invade Iraq simply for oil because the benefits to the economy in the US and UK would cause greater good to those countries than doing nothing (in this situation the people in Iraq don't matter as our Governments aren't actually responsible for them). According to the Categorical Imperative it wouldn't be acceptable for our Governments to engage in such actions because, to do so, they'd have to truly want other countries to treat them in the same way should the situation be reversed, and they wouldn't want that.

Anyone else got any opinions?

Neither.
I do not want an ideologically-driven government.
Decision makers should use all available rational tools.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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