Neo-Kantian Moral Systems: My View

If you’ve spent as much time in politics as I have, you’ll become pretty convinced that the prevailing ethical paradigm of our day both in terms of individual action and actions taken by society as a whole is fundamentally teleological in that it is primarily ends-directed. And I have to say, I completely understand the appeal of utilitarianism. Was it Mr. Spock who said “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?” Yes, it was.

Now, I’m very reluctant to cross logical swords with Mr. Spock but I have to say that I beg to differ.

(And before you point out that in the film after that one Kirk says that the “needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many” to explain why the crew risked so much to save Spock and that in the film after that one, Spock jeopardizes the entire crew (many) to save Chekhov (one), let me just say this:  you’re right.)

So, the point is, Spock’s position may have changed on its own without my having to try and prove him wrong (which would be hard.)

Anyway, back to my view.  I am a committed neo-Kantian in pretty much every respect: epistemology, philosophy of science, the mind-body problem, even Aristotelian idealism. But first and foremost is my profound belief in deontological means-directed ethics as elucidated in the Grundlegung and so brilliantly expanded upon by Schopenhauer in his affectionate Critique. 

What’s your opinion? I’d like to know!

  • jerodast

    Careful, Richard, you may be thinking of the Russian playright Chekhov! The Russian Star Trek character’s name is spelled without the h: Chekov.

  • Adam Block

    RIP, Anton Yelchin.