Respect for the law and the use of dynamical terms in Kant's theory of moral motivation

Kant's discussion of the feeling of respect presents a puzzle regarding both the precise nature of this feeling and its role in his moral theory as an incentive that motivates us to follow the moral law. If it is a feeling that motivates us to follow the law, this would contradict Kant's view that moral obligation is based on reason alone. I argue that Kant has an account of respect as feeling that is nevertheless not separate from the use of reason, but is intrinsic to willing. I demonstrate this by taking literally Kant's references to force in the second Critique. By referring to Kant's pre-critical essay on Negative Magnitudes (1763), I show that Kant's account of how the moral law effects in us a feeling of respect is underpinned by his view that the will is a kind of negative magnitude, or force. I conclude by noting some of the implications of my discussion for Kant's account of virtue.
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DOI 10.1515/AGPH.2006.002
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