Sense and Sensibility in Kant's Practical Agent: Against the Intellectualism of Korsgaard and Sidgwick
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):1-36 (2013)
Drawing on a wide range of Kant's recorded thought beyond his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, this essay presents an overview of Kant's account of practical agency as embodied practical agency and argues against the intellectualized interpretations of Kant's account of practical agency presented by Christine Korsgaard and Henry Sidgwick. In both Kant's empirical-psychological and metaphysical descriptions of practical agency, he presents a recognizably human practical agent that is broader and deeper than the faculty of reason alone. This agent chooses action from a reflective distance, but not from the complete affective distance of reason. We choose neither as reason alone, nor even as the sum of all of our ‘higher’ faculties, of cognition (including reason), feeling, and desire, in Kant's view. Instead, we choose as an agent that also has ‘lower’, ‘sensible’ faculties, of cognition (including sense), feeling, and desire, which together comprise our ‘sensibility’. These mental states of sensibility are not merely confused versions of our higher cognitions, feelings, or desires, and so different from them in degree only, but are instead distinct from our higher states in kind also; and these distinct sensible states are not dependent on our higher states and so on a commitment to the value of humanity, for example. For this reason, a choice in favour of sensible states and in opposition to the moral law need in no way undermine its own foundations and thus be incoherent, as Korsgaard and Sidgwick argue, but instead only immoral. Because Kant does not reduce the problem of immoral choice to one of insufficient reflection and ensuing confusion, he does not view moral progress in cognitive terms alone, whether in the form of a clearer understanding of the moral law, improved judgment in applying it, or deeper insight into our own nature as practical agents. Kant instead recognizes the crucial importance of cultivating our feelings and desires over the course of a lifetime both as a way to make ourselves worthy of the humanity within us directly and also as a way to facilitate future moral choices.
|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
Eric Entrican Wilson (2015). Self‐Legislation and Self‐Command in Kant's Ethics. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):256-278.
Similar books and articles
Camillia Kong (2012). The Normative Source of Kantian Hypothetical Imperatives. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):661-690.
Owen Ware (2010). Kant, Skepticism, and Moral Sensibility. Dissertation, University of Toronto
Paul Russell (2006). Practical Reason and Motivational Scepticism. In Heiner F. Klemme Dieter Schönecker & Manfred Kuehn (eds.), “Practical Reason and Motivational Scepticism”, in Heiner F. Klemme, Manfred Kuehn, Dieter Schönecker, eds., Moralische Motivation. Kant und die Alternativen. Kant-Forschungen. Felix Meiner Verlag
Bryan Lueck (2009). Kant's Fact of Reason as Source of Normativity. Inquiry 52 (6):596 – 608.
Patrick Kain (2010). Practical Cognition, Intuition, and the Fact of Reason. In Benjamin Lipscomb & James Krueger (eds.), Kant's Moral Metaphysics: God, Freedom, and Immortality. De Gruyter 211--230.
Vincent Michael Colapietro (2006). Toward a Pragmatic Conception of Practical Identity. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42 (2):173-205.
Pauline Kleingeld (1998). Kant on the Unity of Theoretical and Practical Reason. Review of Metaphysics 52 (2):500-528.
Stephen Engstrom (1993). Allison on Rational Agency. Inquiry 36 (4):405 – 418.
Christine M. Korsgaard (2009). Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity. Oxford University Press.
Christine M. Korsgaard (2008). The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology. Oxford University Press.
Andrews Reath (2010). Formal Principles and the Form of a Law. In Andrews Reath & Jens Timmermann (eds.), Kant's Critique of Practical Reason: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press
Melissa McBay Merritt (2011). Kant on Enlightened Moral Pedagogy. Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):227-53.
Henry E. Allison (1990). Kant's Theory of Freedom. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Shaver (2006). Korsgaard on Hypothetical Imperatives. Philosophical Studies 129 (2):335 - 347.
Immanuel Kant (1909/2004). Critique of Practical Reason. Dover Publications.
Added to index2010-09-27
Total downloads70 ( #48,561 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #99,332 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?