Kant vs Nietzsche

Yes and no. Yes, that goes for all of us: I want Nietzsche to be the greatest philosopher, and you want Kant to be the greatest philosopher. But because Nietzsche would, in sharp contrast with Kant, actually affirm this, he is the greatest philosopher.

Even if there were such a thing as a fact, that depends on what you mean by “greatness”. You seem to mean “influence”. I therefore give you an excerpt of an old post of mine:

No, it was not eternal recurrence, nor even historical recurrence; it was merely a shadow of the dead God (compare section 108 of The Gay Science).

It’s good that you brought this up Sauwelios, because i hadn’t really thought about it much further when i wrote my response. I kinda just assumed what i wrote.

Thinking about it some more, maybe a useful way to look at it is throught concepts used in poker. Playing a hand of poker you need to evaluate at every stage whether or not you want to put your money in. It’s an evaluation you make based on a calculation of odds and incomplete information. A good decision, is a decision that gives you positive expected value at the time you needed to make the desicion. But because it’s a game of odds and incomplete information, you can allways loose the hand even if you made a good decision. You loosing the hand, doesn’t make the decision bad retrospectively, because at the time you didn’t have that information. If you’d base your future decisions on what the results happened to be, you are going to start to loose a lot more. Results-oriented thinking is a big no no in poker.

Tying it back to philosophy and value… I guess in the evaluation of a work of philosophy, i’m going to filter out what an author could actually do to at the time of writing. Quality of arguments, method, technique, originality of ideas, knowledge of the subject given the times, style,… all these things matter. And what influence it had only is an indicator insofar there are people reading it that know something about philosophy. Ultimatly chance plays a large part in what makes something influencial or not. Because it’s something you don’t have much control over as an author(it’s not a solid value), i don’t think one should put to much value on it.

Nietzsche is i think the better philosopher simply because his works are a lot better in a lot of these aspects.

Isn’t that a fair request?

Did any other philosophers provide an actual argument for their moral/ethical system?
What Kant did was he provided sound and reasonable justifications from various angles to support his moral/ethical system with the CI therein.

This is what I meant, another straw man again because you have not a thorough knowledge of how Kant moral/ethical system works.
I have stated many times, Kant moral/ethical system comprised theory and its use in the real world. So why is the complain about adapting the CI to the real world.

I have already given a lot of draft examples on how Kant moral/ethical system works but you did not seem to understand nor did not read them.

Note, earlier I listed this draft process of how the Kantian system would work, i.e.

A. The Categorical Imperative
Formulation (1) “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction.”
Formulation (2) - (5) to note.

B. The Maxims/Laws/Rules to be acted upon
(1) …
(11) Others …
Note this section can be quite complex and need further deliberations to refine and simplify within a system, otherwise it is impossible to deal with the full details within the infinite diversified empirical world.

C. Check to ensure all your Maxims in B comply with A.
D. Implement and apply the Maxims, Laws and Rules in the actual world
E. Measure gap/variance between C and D
F. Introduce strategies to close the gap in E
G. Review to maintain overall system from A-F

Do you have any issue with the above?

When we set the general maxim, ‘killing is not permissible,’ it is in alignment with A, the CI [note 5 of them].
Based on an iterative control loop form A-F, it will be natural to adapt it [without changing the original obligatory maxim] to the varied real world.
I don’t see anything wrong with that.
The CI and Maxim are very useful as benchmarks in telling us that we need further constant improvements within the real world as situation changes.

Note the zero defect example I gave earlier.

I have given you the reason for the CI, i.e. it is an ideal benchmark for humanity to strive towards. Of course the ideal is not expected to be achieved at all times, but such a benchmark is a ‘push factor’ to enable continuous improvement at every optimal point.

The other reason why the CI is necessary because the CI as a guide is based on reason which is more preferable than any thing that is based primarily on emotions and subjective feelings, e.g. utilitarianism and consequentialism ethical system.
For any actions, there must be a good “reason.” However in general a ‘good’ reason influenced by psychological feelings in not good enough. As such we have to rely on the best or highest possible reason, i.e. pure reason.

Note the other formulations of the CI assume all normal human beings within the ethical community [Kingdom of Ends] are perfect individuals who collectively formulate the necessary Law, rules and maxim acting on the basis of absolute freewill. Btw, I am not interested to discuss these more complicated elements till you are really familiar and understand [not necessary agree] them.

Prismatic, when will you reply to The Artful Pauper’s last reply to you, in which I think he raised all the pertinent questions begged by your last reply to me?

Which one?

This one: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?p=2530257#p2530257

Yes some other philosophers did provide actual arguments. A lot of Nietzsche deals precisely with that question, with the value of morality.

You say Kant provides sound and reasonable justifications for his moral/ethical system… maybe he has for some other parts of his system, but i don’t think he has one for the CI, which is of key importance i’d think becaue it’s where he starts and how he determines the basic moral laws. I doubt his moral system still works if you don’t accept the CI.

He kinda just deduces it from the definition of a moral law. That is only a tautology, not a justification.

Yeah, i mean i have an issue with the CI, and i don’t think i can follow him further if i don’t accept that. I think if we were to determine moral laws, we shouldn’t start with the CI. They should reflect from the start at least some of our inner and outer experiences… e.g. we come up with moral laws like killing is wrong, because killing harms people and it has been shown to lead to more violence, and we want to do something to prevent that.

But emotions and feelings are the core of humans valuing things. I don’t think you can just cut them out. Reason by itself is empty, and doesn’t tell us much on it’s own (I probably disagree with Kant’s metaphysics here)… don’t you think it’s strange to start from there?

[size=110]No, only no.[/size]

No. I do not want Kant to be the greatest philosopher, but history has proved that Kant is the greatest philosopher. I only repeat what history has decided.

That’s no argument. :laughing:

Like I said: you and all the other Nietzschean(ist)s want Nietzsche (the little mouse) to be the greatest philosopher (the greatest elephant), and that is also a good joke. :laughing:

When I joned ILP, my sympathy with Nietzsche was about 70%; now it is about 40%. That’s the merit of the ILP Nietzscheanists (extreme Nietzscheans). Thank you very much! =D>

Are you a Nietzschean(ist)?

(1) Yes, I am a Nietzschean.
(2) Yes, I am even a Nietzscheanist (extreme Nietzschean).
(3) No.
(4) No, and I hate Nietzscheanists.
(5) No, and I hate both Nietzscheanists and Nietzscheans.
(6) No, and I hate Nietzscheanists, Nietzscheans, and Nietzsche.
(7) I do not know.
(8) I do even not know who Nietzsche is.

You, Sauwelios, are a Nietzschean (=> 1) or even a Nietzscheanist (=> 2).

It’s your funeral! But the question in the op of this thread is not “Who is the greater sympathiser?” but “Who is the greatest philosopher?”. I am not a Kantian; I am an historian, in this case: an historian of philosophy.

So you are prejudiced, biased.

I am not a Kantian, and I am not a Nietzschean (because of the Nietzscheanists - again: thank you very much).

[size=150]“Who …?”[/size]

The Artful Pauper, sorry I totally missed this.

I think you missed my point.
What I implied was if we are to find out whether ‘killing is permissible’ can be an acceptable maxim, then we have to test it against the Categorical Imperative, in this case Formulation 1 which states;
F1: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time WILL that it should become a universal law without contradiction.
To test ‘killing is permissible’ is acceptable, we have to assume it to be an ‘ought’ in principle or theoretically.
Theoretically, when we implement this maxim fully, it will possibly lead to the extinction of the human specie.
Therefore ‘killing is permissible’ cannot be accepted as a maxim in alignment with the CI [condition F1 – note there are 5 conditions].
In this case, exceptions are not applicable, as long as there is a possibility then it cannot be an acceptable moral maxim.
I hope you get my point as when I first presented it.

The above are merely example to give you an idea of how it works in a limited sense. Here is a comment from Allen Wood.
The primary function of a Fundamental Principle of Morality is not to tell us what to do, but instead to provide a basic framework, or Value-oriented background, for Justifying, Modifying, and Applying the more particular Rules or precepts of Morality.
Kant had justified why moral precepts based on common reasons and other pragmatic reason are not efficient. Rather he argued the most effective is a system that rely on moral principles that are based on reason’s reason, i.e. the Categorical Imperative [note 5 Formulations].

Btw, Kant is not ignoring “empirical reality” but has delegate this aspect to the applied, i.e. applied anthropology to deal with empirical reality.
DNA wise humans are 96/98% beast, Kant is aware of this intuitively and inductively and he understand that moral principles that are empirical-based are vulnerable to the corruption of a radical evil from the ‘beast’ in humans.
Now, humans has evolved with a faculty of reason, so we should use the best that reason can give, i.e. the reason-based categorical imperative.
Kant is also aware of the empirical-based ethical systems of his days and he came up with a system that avoided all their pitfalls and limitations.
In a way, Kant’s moral/ethical system provides a over-view [helicopter view] over the ethics of the empirical world. In this case, his system cater for the best of both world, i.e. reason and empirical. That is what is he is famous for, epistemologically reconciling rationalism and empiricism, and therewith extending to the moral/ethical elements as well

Note my reply re why reason + empirical based moral/ethical system is more superior to one that is focussed on the empirical with a limited use of reason.

We can research into why survival is good. However, I don’t think there is room to compromise the otherwise in reality. Logically it is the only option if one is dead, at this point there is no sense in asking the question.
As I said, DNA wise all humans are beast fundamentally and actively. However based on observation and experience, one can infer human beings are evolving towards being more rational. On this basis, the Kantian moral/ethical system assumes all normal human being are rational creatures.
By ‘normal’ I meant of sound mind, i.e. to exclude the mentally sick as per the DSM-V to avoid someone bringing them into the discussion unnecessarily.

The ideas of pure transcendental reason are extended from possible experience. Example the perfect man, zero defects in production, other perfect variables, etc. I a gave an example re the ideal target of zero defects in production of good.

For example if an organization accept defects of 30,000 per million because that is normal in the industry, then they will likely live with that level of defects all the time.
But if another organization is innovative and set their target of Zero defects, i.e. zero per million then this vision will push them to find new ways to achieve this quite impossible ideal. But the plus point is it give them the possibility of continuously reducing the defects level from 30,000 per million to lower levels as they ventured to research new techniques, technology, materials, skills etc.
This was already done in the real world and that was how the Japanese took over the American home products, cars, electrical etc. industry the last 60s to late 70s.
There is hope we can do it with morality and ethics in the near future by incorporating principles from the Kantian system in tandem with advancing knowledge from the various fields.

The Categorical Imperative is the supreme principle.
The categorical imperative is not put a side, rather it is used to ground the empirical precepts/maxim in anticipation for implementations.
For example if an organization set their mission of Zero Defects. It does not mean they are putting aside this mission and maxim.
Some organization that adopted the Zero Defects mission adapted this with the six-sigma maxim which facilitate measurements towards the ultimate maxim of Zero Defects.
Analogically, the Zero Defect is like the Categorical Imperative, this idea is never put aside but imbued in the mind of all concerns and guide/motivate them in their empirical activities.
It will be the same if the maxim involve the Summum Bonum –the Highest Good. What is good is another complex topic that Kant justified. It is not relevant to go into the details of it here.

We have only discussed Formulation 1 – i.e. the Universality.
Formulation 1 has its limitations and it is supplemented with another 4 formulations to complete the whole.
Since you raise the point, Formulation 5 will answer your above question, i.e.
So act as if you were always through your Maxims a Law-MAKING Member in a Universal Kingdom of Ends.
Within Kant moral/ethical system all humans [normal] are rational creatures and they collectively participate to create the maxims as members within the collective.
Note this is why I mentioned somewhere Kant’s moral and ethical system is too far ahead of his time but this natural unfolding inherent system is manifesting in small degrees in reality, empirical and rational.
Btw, I am not saying this is to be applied or practiced immediately. However, it is an ideal that humanity must strive towards and close the gap between empirical reality and ideality.

To translate morality and ethics into objective terms we can use various approaches. One of them is the Science of Axiology. There are many other ways example number of crimes or observed non-conformance behaviours within empirical reality.
The moral instinct is inbuilt in the human species. I raised an OP re experiments on babies. This instinct is just a seed. It is up to humanity as a whole to nurture and expedite its growth. This is possible in the future with reliance on the advancing knowledge from various fields that are now expanding exponentially.
With the advancing knowledge and technology humanity could for a start modulate on weakness and propensity of psychopathy and thus reduce the urge of people to torture and commit all sort of other evils. Humanity can then continue to progress from there within the framework of the Kantian moral and ethical system.

It is your discretion not to accept Kant’s moral and ethical views.




Please show me one moral, if it both works and is not derivable from Kant’s Categorical Imperative. [/size]


[size=114]Modern Occidental imperatives:

Here are some examples of modern Occidental imperatives (the first one is Kant’s Categorical Imperative):[/size]

[size=114]Modern Occidental imperatives of ILP members:[/size]


“Yes and no” referred to “Be honest: […] greatest philosopher”, not to “Did I say […] skepsis?” And yes, it’s yes and no, not only no.

No, you are, as Heidegger put it, a man “fishing in the murky waters of values and universals” (Einführung in die Metaphysik (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1953), page 152). If I have learned anything in frequenting forums for over fourteen years (that is, if I have learned only one thing; I actually have learned several things), it’s that people can hardly be persuaded because they want their values to be facts. Until you admit this, you are, as Nietzsche put it, to be treated as a contemptible libertine “hiding in the cloak of the woman ‘truth.’” (The Will to Power, section 465.)

It is, actually. Precisely if all views of the world are valuations, value ontology is at the same time a valuation and the most fundamental fact. Compare Lampert, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, page 43.

Yes, and?

Actually, here is the actual text of this thread’s OP:

Such a bad historian even regarding such recent history!

Every living being is prejudiced, biased. At least Nietzsche and I readily acknowledge that.

I would like to respond to this, as it defines what seems to be the only relevant thing you said in your last reply to me, where you wrote:

This means that, philosophically, the categorical imperative is abstracted from all human acts or activities that are obviously good or evil to any normal human being. But now you define “normal” by the hand of the DSM-V. In the Wikipedia article on the DSM, however, it says:

[size=95]“The current version of the DSM […] notes that ‘…no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of “mental disorder”…different situations call for different definitions’. It states that ‘there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder’ (APA, 1994 and 2000).” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders#Uses_and_definition)[/size]

It immediately adds, though, that “There are attempts to adjust the wording for the upcoming DSM-V”, but marks this as “dated info”. I don’t have the DSM-5, so please tell me if the above disclaimer was retracted from it.

In any case, why could the sovereign–whether it be the majority of the population, a single individual, or anything in between–not define a normal person by the same characteristics that distinguish the sovereign from everyone else? So that, for example, the king or the tyrant is by definition the only normal person?

What does “work” mean here?

OK, forget about the DSM V which is very extensive.

Kant’s moral system assumes humans are rational creatures and capable of being rational.
I qualified ‘normal’ [not Kant term] in anticipation of anyone bringing in irrational counter examples [acts of extreme mad persons] when discussing casuistrical cases.

This means that, in effect, you wrote:

How is that obvious to them, though? Why is genocide in general evil?

Also, if human reason is historical, it may not have been obvious to rational human beings in the past, and may not be in the future, even if it is in the present. In fact, even if it always is, that does not mean that it is true–that’s to say, that it is actually evil.

Without going into the philosophical complexity of what is ‘evil,’ let look at this general perspective.

I presume we have a consensus of what meant by the term ‘genocide.’
Now, if you were to ask all rational [normal] human being in the world,
would you want to be a victim of genocide?
If you can get ‘yes’ to the above, then I will withdraw my point.

I understand the above exercise is not practical to ask all in practice.
However, I am very sure [personal experience and extensive knowledge], the only ones who would answer ‘yes’ are the sick ones [this is one example why I qualify ‘normal’ earlier], i.e. the suicidal, extreme depressed, the perverts the sicko, and anyone who is under abnormally perverse conditions.

I have done an extensive research on ‘what is evil [secular]’.
Avoiding the above, here is the conventional definition of ‘evil.’


  1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
    “evil deeds; an evil life.”
  2. harmful; injurious:
    “evil laws.”
  3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous:
    “to be fallen on evil days.”
  4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character:
    “an evil reputation.”

I don’t think there is any dispute that ‘genocide’ cannot be ‘evil’ within the above meaning of evil. Genocide is rated one of the most evil human acts.
Here is a detailed description of what is genocide,

Yes, I get all that. And I can see how genocide is evil according to definition numbers 2 and 3 (I don’t think number 4 is applicable). But even then, we could say that genocide is only harmful or injurious to its victims, only characterized by misfortune or suffering, unfortunate, or disastrous for its victims. And this is granting that that’s always the case, I won’t even make the case for “sick” exceptions to that rule. But we could still at most say it’s evil for the victims, or more properly worded, bad for the victims. Whether it is morally wrong, immoral, or wicked in itself (definition number 1) is something else entirely. Consider this syllogism:

Premiss A: “Genocide is always bad for all its victims.”
Premiss B: ?
Conclusion: “Genocide is always evil.”

What should premiss B say above? And why should the following syllogism always be unsound?

Premiss A: “Genocide is sometimes good (as opposed to bad) for at least some of its agents.”
Premiss B: ?
Conclusion: “Genocide is sometimes good (as opposed to evil).”

I started with this;

Genocide is evil, i.e. not good and immoral because it cannot pass the test of the 1st condition of the Categorical imperative.
The test is,
if genocide is made a universal maxim that is to be willed by all rational being at the same time, then the human species will go extinct.
Therefore genocide cannot be a permissible universal maxim.

The syllogism is as follows;
P1 A maxim that ensure the extinction of the human specie [in addition to the torture and sufferings] is evil.
P2 Genocide as a universal maxim ensure the extinction of the human specie [as origins of the torture and sufferings]*.
C1 Therefore Genocide as a universal maxim is evil.

P1 is based on induction and the definition of evil is extended to cover the deliberate act by individuals and humans to cause the extinction of the human specie.
It is noted all living beings strive to produce [cloning, sexual reproduction] the next generations to ensure the continuation of the species.

  • I anticipate you may ask how is sufferings related to extinction of the human species. Think and you will get the linkage.

But previously, you said:

Now, then, your reasoning has turned out to be circular.

I think you still haven’t answered the question raised by my syllogisms, though. Induction from what? How does the–granted–fact that the extinction of the human species is bad for the species and/or its members make a maxim ensuring it evil? What is the connection between the concepts “bad for some” and “evil in itself”?

Actually, no. Evolutionary biology admits of no such teleology, in general. Sure, there may be living beings who actually strive to reproduce or even to clone themselves, but as a rule, sexual reproduction just happens to be a regular effect of the temporary gratification of the sexual drive, and cloning does not happen at all.

I don’t understand why I might ask that. Surely any torture and sufferings must precede the extinction of the human species? Or do you mean that the extinction of the human species may cause torture and sufferings when thought of?

Or would genocide as a universal maxim somehow ensure the extinction of the human species by causing torture and sufferings?