Does Kantian Ethics condemn gay marriage?
I'm taking a class in contemporary ethics and had a thought. Doesn't one of Immanuel Kant's (a moral philosopher) categorical imperatives conclude that gay marriage is unethical? More specifically, the imperative that states:
"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law"
The example for this idea given by my book is about breaking promises. Say that you tell someone you'll pay back borrowed money in a week. If you should decide not to, then you must also agree that it is ok for everyone to make that same choice. If that were a universal truth, then the friend you borrowed money from would know that you were probably lying to begin with - that you weren't really going to pay him/her back. Therefore to say that you would is a contradiction between what was said and what is to be expected. For this contradiction to exist means that the choice you made to avoid reimbursing your friend was unethical.
If you apply this same idea to gay marriage, wouldn't you find it to be unethical? If two women decided to get married, then according to Kant, they will that all people do the same. But wouldn't this curb human reproduction? Thus their decision would serve as a contradiction of their very existence? (This is under the assumption that gay marriage is a comment on one's absolute sexual preference - which would validate this idea.)
I'm not trying to perverse Kantian ethics, nor am I expressing my personal opinion. In fact, the hypothetical circumstance above is not something that would ever been seen in practice, its just a theory that helps one to make a judgement.
So I'm curious to know if you think gay marriage is unethical according to Kant's theory? If not, then why?
I'd also like to know which ethical theory serves as the basis for your real opinion on gay marriage.
Last edited by EyesOfTheDead; 10-01-2009 at 04:30 PM.
Yes, but only if you assume that gay marriage = no heterosexual reproduction. However, the categorical imperative is severely flawed. System-builders like Kant died out with Hegel for a good reason.
I'm fine with gay marriage, based on an existentialist (and, recently, deconstructionist) ethical theory.
Last edited by davobrosia; 10-01-2009 at 04:42 PM.
The problem with the gay marriage example is that the universal imperative doesn't require that all people engage in gay marriage, just that everyone should be able to engage in it.
In my opinion Kant would be for it, as he is more of an emotivist than any contemporary ethical theory-giver, and it doesn't violate any of his virtues.
I personally agree with Hegel more so than I do with someone like Griffiths.
Last edited by Afraid; 10-01-2009 at 04:42 PM.
Even though the categorical imperative is dogsh.t, you've made it worse and definitely perversed it. If you read all of The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals you'd read the second part of the categorical imperative -- respect for persons, which Kant fumbles around trying not to explicitly state the golden rule.
Even with the original moral maxism, you're wrong. The maxim would be "all people ought marry the person they love." That doesn't divert human reproduction at all.
(6:45:07 PM) I: it depends how you state what the action is. if you describe the action as "i am marrying the same sex" then yes it's wrong. if it's just "marry the person you want to marry" then no
(6:45:21 PM) davo: I state it as "marry the same sex"
(6:45:27 PM) davo: because that's what the categorical imperative is
(6:45:29 PM) davo: categorical = all
(6:45:34 PM) davo: all marriages must be same sex
(6:45:44 PM) I: hm. ur right
(6:45:57 PM) davo: u shur?
(6:46:34 PM) I: the fact that there is any discrepancy here is #1 reason kant fucking blows.
(6:46:41 PM) davo: yeah
Last edited by NG; 10-01-2009 at 04:47 PM.