The character of temptation: Towards a more plausible Kantian moral psychology

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (2):103–130 (2002)
Abstract
Kant maintained that dutiful action can have the fullest measure of moral worth even if chosen in the face of powerful inclinations to act immorally, and indeed that opposing inclinations only highlight the worth of the action. I argue that this conclusion rests on an implausibly mechanistic account of desires, and that many desires are constituted by tendencies to see certain features of one’s circumstances as reasons to perform one or another action. I try to show that inclinations to violate moral requirements sometimes manifest a morally objectionable half-heartedness in one’s commitment to those very requirements, and – by extension – to the values that undergird these requirements.
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