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Kant & Categorical Imperatives: Crash Course Philosophy #35

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Our next stop on our tour of ethics is Kant’s ethics. Today Hank explains hypothetical and categorical imperatives, the universalizability principle, autonomy, and what it means to treat people as ends-in-themselves, rather than as mere means. Get your own Crash Course Philosophy mug or Chom Chom shirt from DFTBA: https://store.dftba.com/collections/crashcourse The Latest from PBS Digital Studios: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1mtdjDVOoOqJzeaJAV15Tq0tZ1vKj7ZV -- All other images and video either public domain or via VideoBlocks, or Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons BY 4.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ -- Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios Crash Course Philosophy is sponsored by Squarespace. http://www.squarespace.com/crashcourse -- Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet? Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/YouTubeCrashC... Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/TheCrashCourse Tumblr - http://thecrashcourse.tumblr.com Support CrashCourse on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/crashcourse CC Kids: http://www.youtube.com/crashcoursekids
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Text Comments (1403)
Visceral (11 hours ago)
this is a science teacher teaching philosophy for the sake of expanding a channel. Keep hank in science. :(
Pastels Paradox (19 hours ago)
I Kant seem to wrap my head around philosophy.
Mike mike (2 days ago)
How about something on deontology
emilio kohler (7 days ago)
Tony Montana: "you need people like me, people you can point your finger at and say "that's the bad guy""
What’s with the “chom-choms”?
Rishi Patel (12 days ago)
god damn it tony you should have just stayed in the bathroom
Joseph (14 days ago)
But the moral right thing to do is to lie to save Tony. I get what Kant is saying but I think he’s off with this one
Ashley (17 days ago)
So, basically the opposite of utilitarianism. Ugh it seems like every moral philosophy is so damn extreme.
Sean Freebairn (17 days ago)
So other then being based on logic and not on God, I don't really understand the fundamental difference between this natural law (even if some of the specific forms are different). Given that I believe God gives us commandments because they are good, both Natural law and Categorical Imperatives seem like a subset of Divine command... Maybe just the "be cool to each other" part (which Christ did say everything comes back to (yes he also said to love God, but what does God say? "Be cool to each other")).
Sean Freebairn (17 days ago)
Oh, by the way let me show you how my can make almost anything a hypothetical instead of a categorical imperative. It comes down to a misunderstanding about the nature of hell. Now this is somewhat simplistic, but here we go. I have 3 boys. If I tell them "do your homework and I'll take you all to the zoo." 2 boys finish there homework and go to the zoo. The third cries at the injustice because the zoo is just so cool. From his examples, this would seem to be a hypothetical imperative. Maybe another son doesn't do his homework because he doesn't care about the zoo and either his grade is good enough for it not to matter or his life plans don't depend on passing that course. It's not so much that "hell" is bad, but being stuck there forever is going to suck. But honestly, if you aren't heaven material, you won't be happy there anyway (you will be very uncomfortable in the presence of God because you will fully understand how much you screwed up). "Man is that he might have joy" and God gives us commandments to show us how to "live after the manner of happiness." Also "wickedness never was happiness." But while there is more joy and happiness to be found through right living, the choice is yours... But you might not like the outcome in the end.
tdxana (18 days ago)
What would Kant think of a person that works for the public safety publishes a map that sexual predators were pined around a neighborhood ? This person wants to do that because of public safety and be more aware of our surroundings. What would Kant argue about that?
Josh Cottle (17 days ago)
No one is being treated as a means rather than as an end in themself, universalising the maxim "you should post maps of sexual predators" does not create a contradiction, so Kant would have no issue with this action. The person would only be moral if they were posting the maps because they wanted to obey the Categorical Imperative, wanting to do it in order to raise awareness would make it an amoral action (neither good nor bad). To summarise, there'd be nothing wrong with doing the action, but the person's motivation means they aren't a better person for doing it.
Miguel Sorto (25 days ago)
You are a blessing sir. We appreciate you greatly.
Rafael Oliveira (25 days ago)
So for short: Kant was an collectivist. The "Universality Principle" is about "Well, you may do anything that wouldnt damage humanity, including yours, and you should preserve yourself despite of everything because this is the command of your nature as an rational being. Thats because the choice of to live even in annoying conditions is of moral worth. What's reason? Oh, its the power to judge the reality that passes through the filter's of the mind, the categories. Oh, "reality" is a category, too... uh... wait... Reality is a subjective or intersubjective creation. So reason is the power of change reality, and there is no "real reality" as independent of consciousness but consciousness solely." I have problems with the epistemological status of that principle exemplified. Maybe for accept an distinction between perceptual and conceptual knowledge, and opossed to Kant reserve the term "analysis" just for the act of focus your mind on some aspect of the reality and "synthesis" to the act of relating the products of analysing, that is a source of knowledge, too. For that reason, propose a principle at the conceptual level to be a "law of reality" that you can't help but follow is a mistake, I think. Cos a principle that you can't help but follow has to be something self-evident in every conscious act. And the law of every conscious act is: something exists - things have identity - you know it. IDENTITY is omnipresent. So, coming to think about the human nature you finds, before several steps of cognitive development as a child, it as a conscious, living being = goal directed. Its is a self-evident truth that every conscious action pursues some viewed good. Try to disagree, wanting to save some reserved intelectual cautiousness, and you will found out it. But the good is not self-evident. Then, every moral enquiry renders to "whats is good for a conscious living being? ". You comes back to "categorical imperatives". If you are a conscious being, you have to do so and so to... live!
RJ Anderson (26 days ago)
thank you so much for these videos it it explains it so much better in 10 minutes then my ethics teacher did in two weeks
luce perez (28 days ago)
Why he freak over chom choms lol
Princess HorseFeathers (1 month ago)
5:25 I like how Scarface characters are being used here for the couple. bwahaha
Francesco Mondini (1 month ago)
Rishi Nixon (1 month ago)
Why does Tony jump into the bathtub on his way to escape a murderer?
Shivangee Anand (1 month ago)
This made philosphy so easy 😁
I answered my essay question. I'm done with you for now. Bye.
I have seen this guy before. He is the guy against blocking internet ads. Look who's using in-video sponsorships now. I love Ublock Origin.
Patrick Reich (1 month ago)
Strange question yes, but does anybody know where that bust of Nietzsche on his desk came from? We'd like to get one... :-)
Jj Lim (1 month ago)
Watching this for tomorrow's ethical exams. Nice. Youtube got it's recommendations right
aoife k (1 month ago)
Are categorical imperatives the same as the deontological approach?
Josh Cottle (1 month ago)
The Categorical Imperative is an example of a deontological approach to ethics, but not the only one. Deontological approaches simply say that you have a duty to act a certain way, and so long as you act that way you will be morally correct. For Kant, you have a duty to follow the Categorical Imperative. For some theists, you have a duty to follow the word of God.
BigJB21 (1 month ago)
Isn't this just "do to others as you would have them do to you" except long-winded, convoluted and also gay.
Josh Cottle (1 month ago)
Yes, yes and very much yes.
A Mikah (1 month ago)
This helped with my phil class a lot.
Pedro Varela (1 month ago)
For me, this is the best of the philosopher's arguments you presented.
roberto Fuentes (1 month ago)
It would be awesome to have a crash course about the thinking of specific philosophers to understand how they saw the world. for instance nietzsche I always hear it was pretty interesting but I don't know much of him. And perhaps there are a lot of other philosophers that are interesting to know about!
Josh Cottle (1 month ago)
For a simple introduction to some philosophers I would recommend The School of Life's philosophy videos (although the best way to understand these philosophers is to read their work and interpretations of it, of course).
James Mac777 (1 month ago)
In the Categorical Imperative, this is a Christian path, for blessed is the man who is not a hypocrite, for you shall do unto your neighbor as yourself, in the sum of the law of the prophets after loving God first.
Gary McSpadden tech (1 month ago)
I have three rules in life. 1. Don't harm anyone if I can avoid it. 2. Have as much fun as I can without violating rule 1. 3. Help as many people as I can without violating rule 2. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Alice Briselden - Waters (2 months ago)
Kant was a racist and a sexist so he wouldn't be talking about women as means in theirselves. So the use of 'her' in this video is arguably incorrect.
minenhle Fakudze (2 months ago)
love your content , its better than going to class
A Potato (2 months ago)
Hank: “2 + 2 = 4” Me: MINUS ONE THATS 3 KWICK MAFSSS
VinylGuy 105 (2 months ago)
wait did she tell a lie? I mean Tony left the house and she said he wasn’t there... is the blood really on her hands??
paxwallacejazz (2 months ago)
I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. That's why Democracy is a function of Categorical imperative. That an entire society will defend the rights of any citizen... Not just because they are rich and powerful is the basis of Democracy. That is also why the citizens of said Democracy must be educated and thus prepared for citizenship. So the Neoconservative agenda to debilitate the public school system reveals that their agenda has little to do with Democracy.
iateyursandwiches (2 months ago)
I kind of see what Kant means and I think you were wrong in the phrasing of the apparent contradiction. I could be saying my own words here instead of Kant's but I think he meant that violating the law becomes universal because anyone can think of an excuse to rationalize their immoral action in a situation. For example, in the chom chomm situation, another person could think of the excuse that they have money BUT they have something even more or just as important that they have to pay for that day so instead of starving or missing out on that important thing, they steal. What if some one anywhere tried to make some type of excuse in every situation? OR someone can simply say, that business has a lot of those products, how much would it really hurt them if I just took 1 just for today? The next question according to Kant, in order to act morally would be: what if everyone decided to steal from the chom chom station like you? Kantian philosophy would actually explain why online pirating is immoral to some people or in general.
Asher Jaffe (2 months ago)
Hank, 2 + 2 = 5, you fool! You're a traitor to the party!
mohamed nuur (2 months ago)
hhhh "Humans exist for themselves" that is a god damn lie. Humans exist to worship Allah and pass the test. But anyway I like how you explained the theory. Thanks for that bro
Z Ye (2 months ago)
Wasn't familiar with Kant's work and categorical imperative, but I operated this line of thinking intuitively. I got to read up on more philosophical works.....
Gillio Francesa (2 months ago)
Loved this! Man you're so simpático! Nice work!
Basith Nawshard (3 months ago)
Kant Kant stop being a hypocrite.
wakeupworld100 (3 months ago)
what is more of the correct is what is our creation function. example a healthy man penis is made for a healthy woman vagina to make babies. organically two people of the same gender cannot create offspring babies. that is a natural law order.
wakeupworld100 (3 months ago)
For the Tony and Elvira situation. it depends on context narrative. if the mass murderer was after an innocent Tony and Elvira they did no serious crimes she did a healthy intent deception to save Tony's life if he lived. however if Tony was a criminal in killed one of this other guy's family the other guy has a right to defend his family. it's all about what a person is about. there is toxic deception and healthy deception is all about the intent in what type of lifestyle that person lives over all that determines if it is good and bad. Peace.
Jacob Trudell (3 months ago)
The categorical imperative breaks down under and real scrutiny. It didn’t get popular for being logical
Beth Albany (3 months ago)
do unto others as you would do to yourself
Sinistre Schlauböse (3 months ago)
Cue determinism.
Ariel Larin (3 months ago)
As a Christian, I’m having a tough time understanding Kant. How can you have these laws without a lawgiver? Truth and morality become subjective without God’s standard. Where does his idea of inherent human worth dignity come into play? Why shouldn’t I treat you as a means to an end? Additionally, not everyone will agree to the moral standards that Kant has placed. Its unrealistic.
A. D. Clarke (3 months ago)
So, just out of interest: how does one square this philosophy with a state's existence? It seems that taxation and conscription are most certainly using me as a 'mere means' as it violates my personal autonomy to make my own ends, such as not to get shot in the head in some pointless war or to keep my own money and spend it how I like (including by giving it to causes of my own choice).
Kelvin (3 months ago)
Ahh scarface references
Oliva Scott (3 months ago)
I have a question. In the murderer situation if Elvira (Spelling !?) Told the truth and the murderer came into the house found Tony in the kitchen and killed him would she not still be responsible for his death even though she followed Kant's moral law? Because doesn't Mill say that if you do something even with good intentions but the result is bad then you have violated the moral law. I am very confused by all of this. I just want to pass my philosophy class! HELP!
aerogun18 (3 months ago)
You should break a moral law when dealing with someone attempting to break another moral law. The murderer will have to be incarcerated, no? Is incarcerating people unconditionally moral then? No, obviously.
Javaman92 (4 months ago)
WOW, you totally screwed up the murderer at the door thing. That makes NO sense.
Johnny Hernández (4 months ago)
Kant CAN'T be wrong. Make sense in a crazy world where everybody wants to make up their own truth. There's no such thing as one's truth. There's The Truth, and there's your opinion.
Carmen Mencar (4 months ago)
You got me. When you said chomchoms I thought of the image of a banana, not the word.
God's Community (4 months ago)
*Be honest.* 🔥
Fearofthemonster (4 months ago)
I would like to correct a mistake (based on what I've just read). Kan't doesn't say everybody stealing is wrong because we would not like it. Kant says when stealing is universalized everybody steals from everyone and the concept of property ownership disappears. When there is no one owns anything it would be impossible to steal anything. So what you just universalized would be impossible to do.
Andrew Capone (4 months ago)
The murderer at the door example is misleading. It is irrational to lie as you are telling something as truth that is not. There are two ways out of this which maintain the duty not to lie: 1. Tell a misleading truth: e.g. I don't know exactly where he is, he usually goes to lunch at this time etc. 2. Refuse to answer. You are not lying if you choose to say nothing. Kant was all about actions. If you do not take an action you are not doing anything morally wrong.
Ar Vivo (4 months ago)
Tony is dumb! how does he go to the front yard where the killer is!!!!!! Bla bla Bla Bla
embracing pointlessness (4 months ago)
the problem with stealing is not that it becomes ridiculous and no one gets to eat, it is that it becomes logically contradictory; if everybody stole then there would be no concept of private property and thus it becomes impossible to steal. you must not conflate what is contradictory with what is confusing or ridiculous. This is what the first test of Kant's categorical imperative means.
Philippos ellis (4 months ago)
Thanks for saving me and my exams man!
Saartjie_69 (4 months ago)
I hear Maxim...I see LMG... Act only according to that Maxim...You cant act to a machine gun, youll be dead, full of bullet holes
Kanonamos (4 months ago)
Or Tony can just jump the back fence, avoiding the front yard where the murderer is. Stupid Tony.
Alex Walker (4 months ago)
The Good Place
buffomiko (4 months ago)
Did anyone else know chom choms are called bananas?
Luigi Pati (4 months ago)
excellent, thank you so much. I have been trying to understand Kant for a while now. You rock.
Changbastard (4 months ago)
I wonder how many people picked up on the nod to Scarface.
James Tennant (5 months ago)
damn i'm only 2 mins into this video and i've already learned more in that time than i have from my first year of philosophy a level
Lara Azevedo (5 months ago)
I am missing a Crash Course about the Ethics of Care...
Zac Cush (5 months ago)
Did he make Kant look stupid on purpose?
Hugo Field (5 months ago)
I am a philosophy student and these 10 minute videos are infinitely better than my hour lectures on the same perspectives, which I pay about £100 for.
WorldEagleKW (5 months ago)
That example in thought bubble, I am thinking, if you categorize lies. For example, level 1 lies: white lies, light lies. Level 2: lies that save lives, level 3 and so on. And by lying a level 2 lie, and according to Kant, thus making making a Level 2 lie universal maxim. Wouldn’t that be ok?
Isabel Luo (5 months ago)
love this class!!
Luka Milosevic (5 months ago)
Thank you for this courses!
Richard Gudaitis (5 months ago)
can i have money for an xbox
Jayme Michael (5 months ago)
what at does antithisist mean? utilitarianism is the antithisist of Kantianism? the hell?
Hamzah Patel (5 months ago)
So is nobody going to mention how Tony sat in the bathtub before going out of the back door?
ParaNEra (5 months ago)
in german we literally call him C*nt hahaha
ParaNEra (5 months ago)
oof our teacher sucks thanks
RotaryPunch (5 months ago)
With the universalizability principle, you used a little blurb to define universal law as something that must always be done *in similar situations.* Did Kant define universal law with the same situational distinction, or did he define it as an unconditional, all-encompassing standard? The reason why I ask is because lying when you believe that doing so will save a life, like in the Tony-Elvira scenario, is universalizable because of the situation. Presumably, people would want others to do the same in that situation, rather than believing that it is only okay if they do it themselves, because the purpose is to save lives rather than serve oneself. So that would make Elvira's lie in accordance with the universal principle if Kant accounted for situational distinctions as your blurb defined.
david wright (6 months ago)
Good content; terrible editing. The breathless, hectic pace with no breathing between cuts, gets in the way of actually listening. Let the speaker be seen to breathe- before cuts - and the listeners's brain can do the same. You aren't attempting shtick - but trying to inform and persuade. This takes attention, and so a bit of time.
Damien Ho (6 months ago)
James Brown (6 months ago)
Kant: "You must have autonomy so that you can follow strict rules".
embracing pointlessness (6 months ago)
the problem with stealing in its contradiction isn't that 'it would be silly' if everyone stole; that's not a logical impossibility. The contradiction comes from the fact that if everybody stole then there would be no such concept of private property. If there is no private property then everything belongs to everyone and so stealing becomes impossible.
DataFist (6 months ago)
if you guys started including timestamps in the bios this would be perfect
IBSurvivalGuide (6 months ago)
Even if stealing is a bad action, the imputation grade it receives it is low (not to bad), because as Kant say in his book "Lecciones de ética", if the action was made with a necessity (the necessity of the alimentation, then is not as bad, as the stealing with the purpose of being rich.
Antun Prskalo (6 months ago)
Translated religious moral laws into reson and deducted metaphysical elements... Clever thing about religion was transfering the risk of not acting according to those laws from community to the person that does the act. For example if im thinking about killing a child molesterer in anger, the thing that may stop me is my own fear of God or hell not the long term consequence of "people taking justice in their own hands doctrine" on the community. Very useful in disciplining apes, I would say crucial.
Kelly Kurt (6 months ago)
The reason the 1% are where they are; and enjoy the almost unimaginable fruits of that status; is because they don't care. Not caring about imperatives allows present advantages. What else is there but the present? Whether they know that or not, the advantage is theirs.
Kelly Kurt (6 months ago)
"Moral"? I'm not sure I understand completely. As defined by whom?
Julia Nicholas-Duprey (6 months ago)
I have to write a paper on this for intro philosophy class and I feel like have no idea what I’m Talking about
Dirk Plankchest (6 months ago)
"You could easily swipe that chomchom and be on your way."
Manuel Marrero (7 months ago)
If I would categorize my way of thinking I would say I am a Aristotle + Thomas Aquinas + Kant + Protestant Christianity= me I believe religion has nothing to do with morality a non religious person can have morality; but I also believe in Aquinas’s idea of the 4 laws and believe Kant’s categorical imperatives are a more matured version of Aristotle but are also Alined with Christianity in that God gave us reason just to find Ultimate Divine moral law which is from God
ThreeFingerG (7 months ago)
I would say that sum is a mess of contradictions. Aristotle would despise Kant as the Platonist he was. Aristotle+Thomas Aquinas+John Locke+Ayn Rand for me
Evgeny Koslov (7 months ago)
"[...] is totally knowable just by using your intellect." Ergo, none of the politicians possess such a thing as intellect.
Naro Naroyan (7 months ago)
Instead of labeling the video Kant it should have at least also had the word Deontology in it...
Santiago Ramos (7 months ago)
Boston College is using this video right now! BC Rules!!!
Michael Sieger (7 months ago)
There is only one categorical imperative.
Sayyed Meenaz (7 months ago)
In hindi explain plzzzz 15 March is my paper 2018
Thank you! I had to write a paper on the 2nd one and couldn’t even understand it until I watched this video.
Antenna2heaven (7 months ago)
this dude helped me with my biology exam and now he's helping me with my philosophy.
Kelia Sophia (7 months ago)
Thanks, better than my own teacher!!
Timi Ojumu (7 months ago)
Wow this guy is awesome, make sure you keep making examples bruh
The Char Lie Lhama (7 months ago)
Wow, that puts perspective into place. Here I sat and thought I was voluntarily being used by you to build up your esteem and validation of your knowledge, while helping you fund your cause of spreading your TEME's online. I never even considered that you might not want to do this. Me watching YouTube Videos becomes a little pointless now. Thanks ShoeHorn, I'm going to take a walk before I fully go Chom Choms.

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