Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):121-133 (2012)

Authors
Reshef Agam-Segal
Virginia Military Institute
Abstract
I make a case for a non-Aristotelian reading of Kant’s moral philosophy. In particular, I distinguish between two activities called “self-legislation”: Aristotelian and Kantian. Aristotelian self-legislation is the activity of determining the organizing principle of our own practical life. Every action of ours takes part in this project, which is thus part of the principle of every action. In contrast, not all actions are acts of Kantian self-legislation. To legislate for ourselves in this sense is to be involved in an internal legal drama in which we demand of ourselves, by an internal force, to respect moral duties. Moral normativity, I argue, is thus separatedfrom practical normativity in general. Kant’s notion of self-legislation is part of an attempt to substantiate an absolute conception of morality: to substantiate the idea that our value is higher than that of other things, and yet incomparable. I argue that the notion of self-legislation cannot be part of such an account if understood the Aristotelian way.
Keywords kant  aristotle  ethics  Self-Legislation
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview201228113
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