David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):293-308 (2006)
Kant’s concept of conscience has been largely neglected by scholars and contemporary moral philosophers alike, as has his concept of “indirect” duty. Admittedly, neither of them is foundational within his ethical theory, but a correct account of both in their own right and in combination can shed some new light on Kant’s moral philosophy as a whole. In this paper, I first examine a key passage in which Kant systematically discusses the role of conscience, then give a systematic account of “indirect” duties and the function of hypothetical imperatives in the course of their generation. I then turn to the possibility of moral error and the part “indirect” duty can play in its prevention. In conclusion, I try to show how clarifying the concept of “indirect” duty can help us to shed light on the nature of Kantian ethics as a whole.
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