Kant's Non-Aristotelian Conception of Morality

Sounthwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):121-133 (2012)
Interpreters today often take Kant’s practical philosophy to share some of the basic insights of Aristotle’s. Such, for instance, is the main tone of Christine Korsgaard’s reading. I make a case for a different, non-Aristotelian, reading of Kant’s moral philosophy. In particular, I distinguish between two senses of self-legislation: Aristotelian and Kantian. Aristotelian self-legislation is a general project we are involved in as humans, and in which we determine the organizing principle of our practical life. Every action of ours takes part in this project of self-determination, and the project is thus part of the principle of every action. As opposed to that, not all actions are acts of Kantian self-legislation. To legislate for ourselves is to be involved in an internal drama of legislation. It is to be bound to respect moral duties by a force that is akin to a force of nature, and is yet internal. Moral normativity is thus separated from practical normativity in general.
Keywords Kantian Morality  Aristotle  Self-legislation  Korsgaard  Wittgenstein
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DOI 10.5840/swphilreview201228113
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