Kant's Conception of Humanity

Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (2):291-308 (2007)
Abstract
Contemporary Kant scholarship generally takes Kant’s conception of humanity in his ethical writings to refer to beings with rational capacities. 1 According to this interpretation, when Kant tells us in the Categorical Imperative’s Formula of Humanity [FH] to “act so that you use humanity…always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means,” we are to treat anyone with rational capacities this way. 2 However, Richard Dean has recently revived an alternative interpretation that he traces to H. J. Paton. 3 According to this interpretation, by ‘humanity’ Kant really means the good will, and, furthermore, Dean takes this interpretation to be the more defensible view within Kant’s ethical system.
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