David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Kant, having identified the formulas of the supreme principle of morality, offers a succinct explanation of their interrelation. What Kant says is, “The above three ways of representing the principle of morality are at bottom only so many formulae of the very same law, and any one of them of itself unites the other two in it.”1 This claim – hereafter the “Unity Claim” – plays the role of the eccentric cousin in the family of Kant’s ethics: although glaringly present, it is little spoken of, but seldom disowned. Most commentators, at any rate, focus their attention on more important matters, such as the content of the individual formulas, the moral psychology, or the deduction of freedom. Such matters are sufficiently absorbing to leave the Unity Claim often passed over without remark. But the Unity Claim should not be ignored. Kant does assert it, which compels us to attempt to find a place for it in his moral theory. It would seem to constrain the interpretation of the other, more momentous issues. How one interprets the content of the categorical imperative, in particular, would seem to be significantly restricted by the Unity Claim; one could not, given the Unity Claim, offer a complete interpretation of any single formula without also at least referring to the other formulas. And, as I shall argue in Part III below, the Unity Claim is no accident. Kant is committed to the Unity Claim by virtue of some basic features of his moral theory. This paper will thus offer what amounts to an extended commentary on the Unity Claim. I shall review the various suggestions of what it might mean, and how it might, or might not, be accommodated within Kant’s moral theory. The structure of this paper will be as such. Part II will examine the two main strategies for including the Unity Claim within Kant’s moral theory, and explain why they are both inadequate. Part III will examine the other main approach to the 2 Unity Claim: giving up on it..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Xiaomei Yang (2006). Categorical Imperatives, Moral Requirements, and Moral Motivation. Metaphilosophy 37 (1):112–129.
Samuel J. Kerstein (2002). Kant's Search for the Supreme Principle of Morality. Cambridge University Press.
Michael Nance (2012). Kantian Right and the Categorical Imperative: Response to Willaschek. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (4):541-556.
Jeff Malpas (1999). Constituting the Mind: Kant, Davidson, and the Unity of Consciousness. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 7 (1):1-30.
Derek Parfit (2006). Kant's Arguments for His Formula of Universal Law. In Christine Sypnowich (ed.), The Egalitarian Conscience: Essays in Honour of G. A. Cohen. OUP Oxford
Marcus Arvan (2012). Unifying the Categorical Imperative. Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):217-225.
Robert N. Johnson (2009). Good Will and the Moral Worth of Acting From Duty. In Thomas E. Hill (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Kant's Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell
Sven Nyholm (2012). On the Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. Dissertation, University of Michigan
Douglas Lind (1994). Kant on Criminal Punishment. Journal of Philosophical Research 19:61-74.
Susan Neiman (1994). The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant. Oxford University Press.
Lee Anne Peck (2007). Sapere Aude! The Importance of a Moral Education in Kant's Doctrine of Virtue. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 22 (2 & 3):208 – 214.
Béatrice Longuenesse (2012). Kant's 'I' in 'I Ought To' and Freud's Superego. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):19-39.
Oliver Sensen (2011). Kant's Conception of Inner Value. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):262-280.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads43 ( #77,233 of 1,724,796 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #110,372 of 1,724,796 )
How can I increase my downloads?