Setting ends for oneself through reason
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Simon Robertson (ed.), Spheres of Reason. Oxford University Press (2009)
Kantians often talk about the capacity to set ends for oneself through reason and those who do assume that Kant regarded the capacity to set ends as a rational power or a component of practical reason. ‘Natural perfection’, Kant says, ‘is the cultivation of any capacities whatever for furthering ends set forth by reason’, and he refers to ‘humanity’ as the ‘capacity to set oneself any end at all’ or ‘the capacity to realize all sorts of possible ends’.¹ ‘Humanity’ comprises the full range of human rational capacities, one of which is the capacity to adopt a wide variety of ends, including ends that are not morally required by pure practical reason.² Likewise Kant refers to ‘culture’ as ‘the aptitude and skill for all sorts of ends for which he can use nature (internal and external)’, or as ‘the production of the aptitude of a rational being for any ends in general (thus those of his freedom).’³ Christine Korsgaard characterizes ‘humanity’ as follows
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