One Idea : Kant & Universalism

Hello readers,
This is the first post of its kind and I hope that it will be followed by many others. I will go away from pure python or analytics discussions here and discuss some ideas and how I try to apply them to work environment.

The full explanation of this series of blog posts can be here.

Kant Universalism

Imannuel Kant is a well-known german philosopher, his main work was around 3 different books, that evolve around critics:

  • Critic of Pure Reason
  • Critic of Practical Reason
  • Critic of Judgement

From these different books, lots of interesting ideas have emerged in the world but we are going to focus to only one today : Universalism.

Kant is trying to find the origin of what we define as a good thing. How can we identify and define something as good.

This is a very difficult question as lots of arguments that you have with others are evolving around the fact that your opponent think that he is right and he is doing the good thing. In the contrary, on your case, you are probably right and thinking that this is a good thing to do as you suggested.

You are already seeing where this idea can be used on every day situation. It is true that you can be right by defending something that is not good but this goes to a deeper level that is not the problem we are facing on this blog post.

Good things can be applied everywhere

To summarize the idea of Kant, something is good when it can be applied everywhere. This is what universalism is about. When you are not sure if you are doing good things, try to apply what you are doing on different context and see if it would be still consider as a good thing.

Kant is giving a good example on this : “Why lies are bad ?”

We could argue that a lie is not bad or good, it depends on context. This would be exact if you are looking at the intention behind lies. However the lies are bad because we cannot universalize them.

If a liar would live in a world where everyone is lying whenever they want, lying would not have the impact that it was supposed to happen. As trust between people would not exist, you could not deceive people by lying. For a liar to be able to have his lie working with the desired effect, he is expecting that people are themselves expecting the truth from him.

Therefore we can say that the world is trying to universalize the truth, then the truth is a good thing.

Applying Universalism in life

I always feel that a good consultant, or a good employee is someone that at least have this quality : being able to be critic on his own work.

You would always need to consider that you may be doing the wrong things. As a famous expression states :

“But the only way never to do the wrong thing is never to do anything.”

Jim Butcher, White Night

However, even if you are doing wrong things, you need to see if your intention are good. Applying the rule of Universalism to your action. Try to see if you are actually doing something that would work in any case, within any context is usually a good review of the goodness of your action.

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