Prudential Reason in Kant's Anthropology

In Brian Jacobs & Patrick Kain (eds.), Essays on Kant's Anthropology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 230--265 (2003)
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Abstract

Within the theory of rational agency found in Kant's anthropology lectures and sketched in the moral philosophy, prudence is the manifestation of a distinctive, nonmoral rational capacity concerned with one's own happiness or well-being. Contrary to influential claims that prudential reasons are mere prima facie or "candidate" reasons, prudence can be seen to be a genuine manifestation of rational agency, involving a distinctive sort of normative authority, an authority distinguishable from and conceptually prior to that of moral norms, though still overridable by them. The anthropology lectures make an important contribution to the understanding of Kant's account of the distinctive prudential task: despite Kant's familiar complaints about human finitude and the natural dialectic of our desires, Kant offers useful suggestions about how prudential reflection can generate genuine practical guidance. Even with several significant developments in Kant's anthropological theory over time, prudential norms can still be regarded as distinctive and conceptually independent of morality.

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Patrick Kain
Purdue University

Citations of this work

Rationality: What difference does it make?Colin McLear - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-26.
Kant’s Quasi‐Eudaimonism.Erica A. Holberg - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (3):317-341.
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Realism and anti-realism in Kant's second critique.Patrick Kain - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (5):449–465.

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References found in this work

Kant.Thomas E. Hill - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge.
Kantian rationalism: Inescapability, authority, and supremacy.David Brink - 1997 - In Garrett Cullity & Berys Nigel Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. pp. 255--291.

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