From friendship to marriage: Revising Kant

This paper examines Kant’s accounts of friendship and marriage, and argues for what can be called an ideal of “moral marriage” based on Kant’s notion of moral friendship. After explaining why Kant values friendship so highly, it gives an account of the ways in which marriage falls far short, according to Kant, of what friendship has to offer. The paper then argues that many of Kant’s reasons for finding marriage morally impoverished compared with friendship are wrong-headed. The paper further argues that a few of Kant’s views about friendship are false. The main point is that, when we slightly revise Kant’s account of friendship and jettison Kant’s misguided notions about marriage, we see that marriages can aspire to much of the same moral richness as friendships. Finally, the paper argues that this friendship model of marriage does not obscure the important ways in which marriages and friendships differ.
Keywords Kantian ethics  friendship  sex  marriage  women
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2001.tb00090.x
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Duncan Pritchard (2005). The Structure of Sceptical Arguments. Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):37 - 52.
Donald Wilson (2004). Kant and the Marriage Right. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (1):103–123.

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