“The question here, though, is why such a sinner exists, and it is the second formulation of the Imperative, not the first, that we are concerned with.”
But according to Kant, all three formulations are equivalent: “What he says is that these ‘are basically only so many formulations of precisely the same law, each one of them by itself uniting the other two within it,’ and that the differences between them are ‘more subjectively than objectively practical’ in the sense that each aims ‘to bring an Idea of reason closer to intuition (by means of a certain analogy) and thus nearer to feeling’. (4:435). He also says that one formula ‘follows from’ another (4:431), and that the concept foundational to one formula ‘leads to a closely connected’ concept at the basis of another formula (4:433).”
Continuing with Reppert:
“However, I am attempting to cash out the intuitions that underlie the negative reaction that many of us have with respect to Calvinism. Is it mere emotion or sentimentality? Or is it something else? If the Second Formulation of the Categorical Imperative is a rational moral principle, then isn't there a rational difficulty with Calvinism?”
i) But according to Kant, the second formulation is equivalent to the first formulation. In that event, one way to test the plausibility of the second formulation is to test the plausibility of the first formulation (i.e. “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.”).
So, taking the first formulation as a point of reference, the best possible worlds is a world in which a sadist and a masochist are stranded together on a desert island. Each party satisfies the needs of the other. The pain-freak achieves gratification through the torments of the sadist while the sadist achieves gratification by tormenting the masochist.
If Reppert disagrees with that approach, then he needs to explain why we ought to reject Kant’sown interpretation of his own categorical imperative (i.e. the unity for the various formulations).
ii) But what about the second formulation in its own right?
Suppose a mad scientist is developing a bioweapon. The bioweapon will kill every human being. The mad scientist has an antidote which he will administer to an inner circle of family and friends.
Suppose we have a way of secretly infecting his younger brother with a contagious, incurable, fatal illness. When his younger brother goes to see his older brother, his older brother will contract the fatal illness and die before he has time to deploy his bioweapon.
Let’s say the younger brother is just as evil as the older brother, but not as dangerous.
Let’s also say that this is the only way to reach the mad scientist. Due to elaborate security, the only way to take out the mad scientist is through his trusted and unsuspecting brother.
If we infect the younger brother, then we’re using him merely as a means to an end. And we’re using him in a way that’s detrimental to his own wellbeing.
According to Kant, it’s better to let the man scientist exterminate the entire human race (except for a few of his loved ones) than to stop him by using his younger brother as an unwitting carrier.
Sorry, but that conflicts with my moral intuitions.
“Kant's second formulation of the Categorical Imperative says ‘Treat humanity in yourself and in others as an end, but never as a means.’ Does it bother Calvinists at all that reprobates are, according to their theology, a mere means and not an end in themselves?”
What if it did bother me? So what? Suppose I’m Ted Bundy’s dad. It might bother me that my son is going to be executed tomorrow. Does that mean my son should not be executed? No. My personal feelings are irrelevant to the just punishment of my son. Indeed, my personal feelings might well cloud my judgment. If it were up to me, I might prefer a miscarriage of justice to just punishment.
“Thus, heaven is not a kingdom of ends, there are people who interests are completely sacrificed to the interests of others?”
What makes Reppert think that heaven requires altruism to the exclusion of self-interest? That’s quite unscriptural. Scripture often appeals to self-interest when it cites heavenly rewards as an incentive and infernal punishments as a disincentive.