A Kantian intuitionism

Mind 110 (439):601-635 (2001)
Robert N. Audi
University of Notre Dame
Kant famously said that one could not do morality a worse disservice than to derive it from examples, and this pronouncement, taken together with his formulations and explanations of the categorical imperative, has led some critics to regard him as too abstract. Ross, by contrast, has been widely viewed as taking individual cases of duty to have a kind of epistemic priority over principles of duty, and some of his critics have thus considered him insufficiently systematic, or even dogmatically limited to deliverances of intuition. This paper arises from the conviction that understanding of the categorical imperative may be enhanced by reflection on Rossian principles, and conversely. Kant and other systematic philosophers who have done moral philosophy in the grand style have had too little faith in intuitive singular moral judgement; Ross and other intuitionists have had too little faith in comprehensive moral theory. Drawing in part on an independent account of self-evidence and its relation to intuition, the paper shows how a Rossian view can be integrated with a Kantian moral theory in a way that yields the major benets of both positions: the moral unication possible through the categorical imperative and other notions prominent in Kantian ethics, and the relative closeness to moral practice of Rossian principles
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DOI 10.1093/mind/110.439.601
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