Talk:Kantian ethics

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Good article Kantian ethics has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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April 20, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
June 19, 2013 Featured article candidate Not promoted
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Rawls & Lacan[edit]

Some content copied from User talk:ItsZippy#Kantian ethics.

The additions Fan Singh Long made to Rawls & Lacan look very good. I have copyedited them for style and have also made a few changes to avoid original research - it seemed that opinions and interpretations were beginning to be exhibited, which should be avoided. I've reworded some of the section on Lacan so that is expresses his views, as I think that is what was being expressed. If this is wrong, let me know or fix it. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 19:41, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi Zippy,
I'm glad you like it. I had fun digging some stuff up as well. I'm also glad you are taking a look at it, because I notice that in the few years since I read Lacan, some personal judgments have mixed with fact. Some things are hard to back up sometimes, or are quotes from different authors (like Zizek) that I have trouble separating now. Anyway, Did you notice that Hegel's critique of Kant is really the core of the development Lacan mentions? That was one clever guy, huh? It took the rest of us a few centuries to catch on!
  • about I think it is creditable, just look at the contributors:
  • I'll take a look at the changes you made.
  • Do you think it would be a good idea if we will include some short pieces on the people that influenced Kant? I can mention 2 or 3 major influences off the top of my head.
  • I think we should remove Marcia Baron from the list. She isn't in the same league. What do you think?
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 03:30, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Query: If a text is published under a certain name (a lecture, as part of a bigger work, but is often mentioned as separate from that because of the historical significance), should it be italicised? My vote is yes, because I feel it an insult if it isn't, but this is personal admiration talking. I am talking avout Kant avce Sade, of course.
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 03:46, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your improvements, Fan Singh Long. If, as you say, some personal judgements have mixed with facts, I would advice you to exercise cation. Remember that everything we say needs to be reliably sourced and we cannot insert any of our own opinions. If you're finding something difficult to back up, don't add it until you can find it clearly stated in a source.
  • does look reliable, I think - thanks.
  • As for Kant avec Sade, I don't know what it was - was it a book, an essay...? That will help determine how it should be presented.
  • I was thinking that influences of Kant would be a good idea, yes.
  • I agree that Marcia Baron is not as important a figure as some of the others, but she does raise an important point, about the merits of duty which is also quite nice as it encompasses Michael Stocker's criticisms. I'm not sure; I'm not convinced that we should remove the section just because she is not as important without discussing the criticism and discussion raised in her work elsewhere.
  • The last sentence of the section on Lacan is troubling me, both with clarity and neutrality; what exactly are you trying to say? ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 17:30, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Hi Zippy,
I meant that you already took care of the things that I am (looking back) afraid of were mixed with personal judgments. You were like Ockham's Razor, so to speak.
  • Kant avec Sade was a lecture. Does that mean it should be italicised, or not?
  • Great, I'll get on the influences in a few days (I am thinking about Aristotle and Rousseau, maybe some eastern influence, but I am not sure if I can prove that). I am now building something for the general outline. I think you'll like it. Do you want me to be bold, or place it here first?
  • That is a good point, but we could fill a whole lot of room with philosophers that are known all over the world and that are the subject of classes all over the world. Marcia Baron is not, nor is Michael Stocker.
  • In the section of Lacan I was trying to relate what I said to Lacan himself and psychoanalysis. The point is that Lacan's division into the real, the imaginary and the symbolic are a result of this chain of thought. In fact, it is what Hegel already pointed out, more or less. It is really interesting stuff. What would you change about it?
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 18:51, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for your reply, Fan Singh Long.
  • The lecture is an interesting one. I think that, if it was the title of the lecture (not just an excerpt), it can probably be italicised. I'm not too bothered, though - it's hardly a vital issue in the article.
  • That sounds good. Go ahead and be bold; I'm willing to change/revert and then discuss anything I disagree with, as is the norm. So long as everything is sourced and your don't present your own opinion, I am happy. Just a suggestion: Knowing Kant's influences will, by its nature, exhibit some level of opinion. I suggest, therefore, that you do not declare who Kant was influenced by, but refer to notable opinions, for example, "Scholar A has argued that Aristotle influenced Kant."
  • I agree that Marcia Baron is not that important. If you want to remove her, I won't complain. It would be helpful, though if we can source more criticisms of Kant's theory, from somewhere at least.
  • I agree - it is interesting. I am just not sure how important it is to this article, which needs to stay focussed on Kantian ethics. In addition, it seems to present an opinion or interpretation - perhaps it could be worded slightly differently to link it to the interpreter. Has anyone other that you made that point? If so, the sentence needs to be referenced to that person. If it is purely your own opinion, it should be removed.
Thanks, I'm pleased with the progress we're making here. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:19, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Hi Zippy,
Thanks fot Italicizing!
  • I am almost don with the part I am working on of Kant. I'll probably show you this morning or this evening. I am hoping you will pick up on original research, because even though I try, it is difficult to me to separate sometimes. If I have just read something it is a lot easier than to edit about the work of someone I have respected deeply for many years.
  • After that I will move on to some people who influenced Kantian Ethics. I think the best way to go is to note some of which Kant said that influenced him. I will properly reference them. I will get on it after I am done with what I am doing now. I would like your eye on my remakrs here as well, just to check me ofcourse.
  • I love your new separation of criticisms and influences. We should add influenced by later. This way I am not so surprised by Marcia Baron. Maybe I should google on criticisms anyway. I have really only read misinterpretations of him as criticisms. I will modify your idea a little btw. I hope you will like it.
  • Lacan said it. My source just mentioned Zizek and not Lacan. That is my shortcoming. But anyway, it is ok like this, right?
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 04:37, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Say Zippy, I just took a look at the sources. I noticed in the history that you had 'corrected' them. Although I agree that some remarks can be sources out of the mentioned paragraphes, not all references refer to the same paragraphes. If you persist in sourcing like this (with the a, b and c), you should remove the paragraphes. I'll be happy with it either way.
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 04:49, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Hi Fan Singh Long, I'll reply in bullet points (as is the Wikipedia way).
  • Your additions to the outline look good, especially in terms of content. Some original research has snuck in, often by way of puffery. Have you read words to watch? That might help with separating fact and opinion. I will copyedit the section in a moment. Problematic phrases include "like a true enlightenment thinker", "The three most important are" (we should include all 5, really). Looking through it, there aren't actually many problems. As a side note, there is no reason to refer to Kant's works by their German title on the English Wikipedia. Also, references should be placed after punctuation marks, not before.
  • A section on Kant's influences sounds good.
  • Criticisms of Kant may be misrepresentations, but they have still been made. The idea of neutrality is that we just tell people what people have said, regardless of whether we agree. Thus, any notable thinker who has made a badly-construed criticisms should be included. We can tell people that it is a misrepresentation iff a notable thinker has made the same point.
  • If Lacan said it, we should say that.
  • The 'correction' comments in my edit summaries referred to correcting mistakes in my previous edits, not to correcting the references themselves. On the note of references, I find the best way to reference work is to list all the books in the bibliography and in the actual reference, just refer to the author, year, and page number (as I have done in all the others). Like you, I prefer to reference with exact page numbers; however, this would make the reference section unwieldy if we fully referenced a book every time we wanted to refer to a new page. Does that make sense? If you can add the books to the bibliography section and then change the actual references, it would make things easier. If not, I'll get round to it later. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 18:35, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
I forgot to mention, the {{cite book}} template is useful for the bibliography (for consistency and to make it easier to edit). ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 18:41, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Morning Zippy,
I'll use my own sequence in replying to you for a bit (I am looking at your are a tough critic!).
  • Well, not just Lacan said it, but at that time the entire western world that was interested in the workings of the mind was adding one and one together. There were many that were working in this direction. Freud became famous for it because he was a doctor, concluding that for some illnesses he could find no physical reason, but a psychological. That is how he came up with his superego (in his Traumdeutung (Interpretation of dreams)). I know this because Lacan knows this. later I googled and found more sources. You tell me how to say it. I am still working on the morning coffee you see.
  • I like your piece on the influences of Kant. I wanted to add Rousseau as well. Kant's entire idea of duty and human autonomy are based on Rousseau's rationalism. I will see if I can add some words of Kant himself, but I am not sure how much time I wil have.
  • I am prone to puffery. Thanks for your criticism..although sometimes I puff when I see your revision! (But you are great, we make a good team I think.)
  • It is often proven that they are misconceptions. The only real critisms are stuff like "it doesn't tell us what to do". This is true; it describes hot to conclude what to do. I think the theory is sound for ethics (not for psychology, because it describes what one OUGHT to do). That is why no reasonable criticisms exist on it (IMHO). But, I just admire Knat, so...bias.
  • I refer in the same way, yes, but the Gutenberg does not show page numbers...And when you cite page numbers you need to cite which printing it is and everything (and which revision of it and stuff like that). Anyway, we are doing good so far, the more precise we are, the better.
  • I noticed someone doing that too. I might not use it...I don't really like it. Code like that has the tendency to be filled with bugs. But who knows about the future.
Anyway, I'll re-read your edits for a second and think about Kant's influences.
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 05:15, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I edited out some stupid mistakes and I emphasized that Kant is an enlightenment thinker. Hope you like it.
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 05:32, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Edits look mostly good.
  • I don't know a great deal about psychoanalysis, and the sentence is not a huge issue. The only issue is ensuring no original research. The source for the sentence is to Lacan's own work, so we can only recount what Lacan said. If you have another source from a commentator on Lacan, different wording may be possible.
  • Thank you. If you have anything else to add (which I'm sure you have), go for it. I see you moved the influences section under the significance heading. I'm not sure this is entirely right. Kant is significant because of who he influenced and who criticised him; being influenced by other people does not in itself make the theory significant. Do you think we could keep the influences section its own section (it may well end up being shorter, but that's not a problem).
  • And I am prone to oversimplifying; I think we do work well together, yes.
  • Yeah, that's fine (I agree with most of what you say). However, it is not up to us, as Wikipedia editors, to determine which criticisms are valid - we're just here to report them. As I said, if you have any sources which criticise the criticisms, that would be great.
  • It is helpful to cite page numbers with books, but that is not necessary with references to WikiSource. We do not need to provide direct links to anything; we simply need to tell people where to find things - with books, that's a page number; with websites, that is a URL. I find using Wikisource easier because you don't need to deal with citing the right publisher, edition, etc. as it's all there in the link.
  • In this article, at least, we should use the method I suggest. This is simply for consistency - we should maintain the same reference style throughout. To ease your worries, I can assure you that the citation templates do not have any bugs in them; 383921 pages use {{cite book}} without any problems. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 15:59, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
  • I've nominated this article as a Good Article (see the top of the page); hopefully it should be reviewed soon. Do please continue to improve it, though. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 16:14, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Morning Zippy,
  • I think it is ok like this. I agree on the original research. Thanks for being my review tool.
  • I will work on the influences in a few days. I am going to be more busy because of a family situation I'm sorry to say.
  • I know, but if a criticism is not coherent in itself, it should not be placed. With this I mean that it should not contain contradictions. Usually it does not get famous that way. If such a thing comes up I'll let you know.
  • You mean that people can look for it themselves on the page in question? What if the book is 400 pages long?
  • Ok, maybe it was something else that went wrong that time. I had the difficulty on another wikiproject I edit sometimes anyway.
Ok, I'm off. Cheers!
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 04:42, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Hey, the GA sure would a be great reward! Personally I feel you should have waited a few days until we are done. That way everyone would get the best idea of it. But the idea is definately grea!
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 04:46, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
  • That's great. :-)
  • Whatever you can do whenever is fine. I will continue to have a look too. You situation is understandable: take as long as you need over it, I hope things are ok with you.
  • I'm afraid that's not quite correct. Neutral point of view is one of Wikipedia's five pillars and is a core policy. When we are writing the article, we really do need to avoid putting in our own points of view, even if we believe that they are right. This does not mean that we present everything with equal value (WP:DUE); however, the weight we give to things must reflect the sources we have, not our own opinions. Is that ok?
  • Our Wikisource links are reasonably specific - we name chapters and sections - so no one will be looking through 400 pages. In any case, the reason we reference is to ensure that what we write is verifiable; we are not sourcing just to provide references for other people.
I'm sorry - I should have asked you before nominating the article. GA nominations tend to take a few days to get started anyway, and it is not a mark of completion - we can continue to edit the article during and after the nomination (indeed, it is not even the highest accolade). ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 19:26, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Hi Zippy,
  • I have had a bad time, but all seems to have worked out for the best. Thanks for your concern. Sometimes life is like this. All I can do is take it as it comes and then live with it.
  • I think you misunderstand what I was saying. We can be neutral in explaining Adolf Hitler;s point of view towards Jews. This is completely neutral, correct and should not be missing from any encyclopedia. Do you see my point? I am being explicit about this because sometimes what everyone thinks is true appears to be only a point of view. Like the way everyone believed the earth was the center of the universe centuries ago. If that isn't a point of view I don't know what is, but people were put to death for saying it orbited around the sun. See? Everything is a pov. The reason for this is because humans do not have a standing which allows us to actually know what is true or just a pov. We can only think we know. This, in fact, is only a pov. All 'scientific knowledge' (correct or not) is also a sum of 'pov's'. The error theory comes to mind. Maybe interesting to read for you. I think we intend to say more or less the same.
  • I understand the point, I am just not known with wikisource.
  • NP about the nomination. It is a great idea, I just feel like it should be 'finished' (although I know it will never be). Hey, I'll get started editing again. It's nice to be back.
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 07:30, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Hi, good to see you again. Sorry to hear that you're having problems, and I'm glad to hear that things are getting better. Now, to the article.
  • You're completely right. I think we essentially agree on this, I just want to stress the importance of reliable sources. We recount people views (whatever they are), giving them the weight that the sources merit them, supporting them when the sources support them, and criticising them when the sources criticise them.
  • That's fair enough. I'mm happy to deal with the Wikisource references. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:37, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

People that influenced Kant[edit]

I will be starting to work on this. The first that come to mind are:
  • Aristotle
  • Rousseau
  • Hinduism/buddhism
The last one will be difficult to prove, I am not sure where I can find it. I will consider writing it. I will start with Aristotle I guess.
--Fan Singh Long (talk) 07:37, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Looks good - go for it. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:37, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Kantian ethics/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tom Morris (talk · contribs) 09:07, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
    No glaring issues.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    Well sourced, perhaps a bit too much emphasis on book sources and avoiding journal sources. For the issues below in response to criteria three, I'd suggest balancing out the book sources with journal sources would be useful.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    Meets GA standards, but I'd say that if authors of this article have any intention of taking it to FA, the reception section needs to be much longer. One thing that could definitely be included is more on the applicability of Kantian ethics: take areas of contested practical ethics (abortion, animal rights, euthanasia/assisted suicide) and point to the literature where the Kantian position is debated. Similarly, there is considerable debate in the philosophical literature about how exactly to interpret aspects of Kant. FA standard would require some discussion of this, I think. Neither of these two suggestions would count if properly sourced as either coatracking or trivia/cruft (etc.).
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
    Obviously, there's a lot more that can be said, but what exists looks pretty neutral to me.
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
    No edit warring or contentious talk page activity.
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    (As a Rawls fan, I have to say, it's a shame we don't have a free image of John Rawls on Commons.)
  7. Overall:
    Very well done, really a model of how to do a well-written and readable philosophy GA in my opinion

Critics of Kant[edit]

Hi. There are two criticisms of Kant I'd like to add to this page because they seem to be fairly common.

1) Kant's emphasis on acting purely from duty excludes a desire to act in the same way as instructed by moral law. People ought to desire to act in the same way as instructed by moral law. Therefore, the emphasis on acting purely from duty is immoral. (Will get source for this. I don't have the book anymore but will get it again soon)

2) The second categorical imperative contradicts the first because a law cannot both be a priori and be created by humans who haven't always existed. "The theory of the categorical imperative is, moreover, inconsistent. According to it the human will is the highest lawgiving authority, and yet subject to precepts enjoined on it." (

Both of these arguments are posed both by the Catholic Church and others. Should I split them up putting the second in the Categorical Imperative section and the first in the critics of kant section or should i just put both in the critics of kant section. "e.g. ===Catholic Church===" --Polsky215 (talk) 02:24, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea. I'd suggest you add them to the criticisms section under a Catholic Church heading, as you suggest. I'm always of the opinion that we should present someone's arguments first without including commentary/criticism from others, so that readers can fully understand what someone has said, before getting into further discussion of their ideas (they should fully understand Kantian ethics before hearing what people said about it). The second point you made is well sourced, so feel free to add that straight away. The first one sounds good; once you've found a reliable source for that, you can add it to the article. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 11:17, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Applications: Lying[edit]

“Thus we may still be required to tell the truth to the murderer in Kant's example.”

Rather than telling the truth to the murderer, could one not simply remain silent? Or is there an aspect in Kantian ethics that similarly dictates that one should always and under all circumstances answer a question? If there isn’t, this seems to be a non-issue. -- (talk) 11:37, 7 November 2014 (UTC)