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There is...only a single categorical imperative and it is this: Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
Immanuel Kant Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
You may argue, who is a philosopher serf to argue with the great names, and you would be right. Still I will. Being wrong has never stopped me.

This is over broad. "...will that is should become a universal law." Ha!

My will, your will, the greatest will alone cannot make a universal law become. A universal law is discovered else it isn't universal. If we can argue about if it is universal and no proof can be found to show it is, then it is not, until it is proven.

My will make create some reality, may modify this small region of the great see of consciousness, may spread and flow like an infectious meme to every corner of our existence. Does that make it a universal law? What if you come after me with another maxim that eventually washes mine away. Then neither are universal. Only dominate in their day in their way and in their place.

No it is a grand dream to think that what was theirs was universal. All of us start there as children. Our world is the world. The way we are is the way things are. When we discover the other, we go first to ours is correct and the other wrong. Ours is a universal law and this other path is but a detour from the right path. A detour that can only lead to folly.

So much of our history, all of our histories, personal, national, cultural, poetical, religious, all of them can be understood only in light of the view of the universal law this arrogant philosopher serf argues from his post at the ours of the philosopher kings boat.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
kengr
Jun. 27th, 2005 07:00 am (UTC)
You've misread the meaning.

A less stringent way of putting it would be:

"Before acting in a certain way, ask yourself what would happen if *everyone* acted that way."

A lot of "reasonable actions" aren't so reasonable when looked at this way. Littering is the most familiar example, but there are a lot of others.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )