Kant on Moral Respect

Anastasia Berg
Cambridge University
Kant’s account of the feeling of moral respect has notoriously puzzled interpreters: on the one hand, moral action is supposed to be autonomous and, in particular, free of the mediation of any feeling; on the other hand, the subject’s grasp of the law somehow involves the feeling of moral respect. I argue that moral respect for Kant is not, pace both the ‘intellectualists’ and ‘affectivists,’ an effect of the determination of the will by the law—whether it be a mere effect or the motivating cause of action—but is instead identical to it. Drawing on Kant’s general account of feeling as the awareness of how representations and their objects harm or benefit our own powers, I argue that the identity between moral respect and the determination to action contains two elements. Moral respect is, first, a form of practical self-consciousness which constitutes the subject’s recognition of the moral law and thus of herself as intrinsically bound by it, i.e., as a moral agent. Second, respect is a capacity for receptive awareness of particular features of our environment as well as other persons insofar as they benefit and harm us as moral agents. Thereby moral respect affords us awareness in concreto of particular, morally-conditioned ends. In this way moral respect provides the key for a Kantian account of genuinely free practical receptivity.
Keywords Kant  moral respect  feeling  moral feeling  practical self-consciousness  feeling  moral motivation  desire  will
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Kant on Moral Self‐Opacity.Anastasia N. A. Berg - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):567-585.

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