Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daily dose of philosophy

In his Critique of Practical Reason Immanuel Kant elaborates on his ideas about how moral judgments can be made. A maxim, a moral belief, must stand the test of the ‘categorical imperative’ before it can become a moral law. Moral laws, thus believes Kant, are not contingent, they are not ‘hypothetical’ imperatives, but universal principles, ‘categorical’ imperatives. Pure reason fails in the area of knowledge, but comes into its own in the area of moral judgments. We can rationally figure out what to do by identifying the principle that lies behind a proposed course of action: What do I commit myself to by doing x? Next, we need to find out whether the principle can be a categorical imperative by asking ourselves if we could will it to be a universal law, as unbreakable as a natural law. The categorical imperative is strongly bound up with a belief in the dignity of the human individual. It would be absurd to deny that all human beings are moral lawgivers, and as such merit our respect. It is therefore rational to treat them accordingly, i.e. never to simply use others for our own ends but to respect that they too have ends. --

This is Professor James Dwyer's point, the dignity of children is not respected by parents that indoctrinate them (or have others do it for them) into a religion. Using your child to further the growth of or sustain a sect or church (such as the Catholics are famous for doing) is reducing them to instruments the institution can manipulate.

Parents also consign their children to a religion for egotistical reasons to demonstrate they are pious or they simply bow to pressure from ecclesiastical authority to achieve their approval and good standing.

Children have a right to choose their own beliefs when they grow to maturity.

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